Background & Aims: We compared the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development between patients with chronic hepatitis B (CHB) who achieved virological response (VR; HBV-DNA < 2000 IU/mL) with nucleos(t)ide analogues (NUCs) treatment (NUC-VR group) and patients with inactive CHB phase (ICHBP group). Methods: To adjust for imbalances between NUC-VR and ICHBP groups, propensity score matching (PSM) models with 1:1 ratios were performed. Results: This study included 2032 patients (n = 1291 in NUC-VR group and n = 741 in ICHBP group). Before PSM, NUC-VR group was at higher risk of HCC development than ICHBP group at 7 years (9.4% in NUC-VR group vs 3.3% in ICHBP group; P < 0.001). However, after PSM, the cumulative HCC development rates at 7 years were similar in NUC-VR and ICHBP groups using the three PSM models [2.0% vs 4.3%, PSM model-1 (612 pairs); 3.7% vs 4.4%, PSM model-2 (618 pairs); and 2.4% vs 4.3%, PSM model-3 (610 pairs)] (all P > 0.05). Conclusions: After adjusting heavier hepatic fibrosis burden in NUC-VR group, overall clinical outcomes between 2 groups had become comparable. Therefore, if appropriate, NUCs to prevent viral replication and hepatic inflammation are required for achieving better prognosis.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported in part by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning (2016R1A1A1A05005138) and by Research of Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2016-ER5103-01). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, or preparation of the manuscript.
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