Objectives:Performing repeated liver biopsies to assess the improvement of liver fibrosis is impractical. The purpose of this prospective cohort study was to assess the improvement of liver fibrosis during antiviral treatment by serial liver stiffness (LS) measurement using Fibroscan in chronic hepatitis B (CHB) patients with advanced fibrosis.Methods:Nucleos(t)ide analog-naive CHB patients with advanced fibrosis in histological findings (stage ≥F3), high viral load (hepatitis B virus DNA ≥2,000 IU/ml), and normal liver enzyme levels (<2 × upper normal limit) before starting antiviral treatment were included in this study. LS measurement was performed at baseline and annually for 5 years during antiviral treatment. Five-year fibrosis improvement was defined as LS value <7.2 kPa (<F3) at year 5.Results:The mean LS value of 120 patients significantly decreased over time (14.5 kPa at baseline; 11.3 kPa at year 1; 9.6 kPa at year 2; 9.3 kPa at year 3; 8.6 kPa at year 4; and 8.3 kPa at year 5). Multivariate analysis showed that baseline LS value was the only predictor of 5-year fibrosis improvement (odds ratio, 0.907; 95% confidence interval, 0.838-0.980; P=0.014). Patients with low baseline LS values (<12.0 kPa) had a greater probability of experiencing significant fibrosis improvement than those with high baseline LS values (≥12.0 kPa) (81.5% vs. 29.0%, P<0.001).Conclusions:In CHB patients with advanced fibrosis receiving antiviral treatment, annual LS measurement revealed that fibrosis improvement slows but continues during treatment. Low LS value (<12.0 kPa) at baseline was a significant predictor for 5-year fibrosis improvement.
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