Prognosis of Untreated Minimally Active Chronic Hepatitis B Patients in Comparison With Virological Responders by Antivirals

Hye Won Lee, Seung Up Kim, Jun Yong Park, Oidov Baatarkhuu, Do Young Kim, Sang Hoon Ahn, Kwang Hyub Han, Beom Kyung Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: Serum hepatitis B virus (HBV)-DNA > 2,000 IU/mL is associated with higher risk of disease progression. However, without hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) or cirrhosis, nucleos(t)ide analogs (NUCs) are recommended only for patients with elevated serum HBV-DNA and alanine aminotransferase ≥2 × upper normal limit. METHODS: We evaluated prognosis of untreated minimally active (MA) hepatitis patients (defined as HBV-DNA > 2,000 IU/mL, but never fulfilling current criteria for NUCs during follow-up) (untreated MA group), compared to virological responders by NUCs (NUC-VR group). Eligible patients undergoing transient elastography were consecutively enrolled. Patients with an immune-tolerant or inactive phase and with cirrhosis or HCC at enrollment were excluded. Cumulative risks of disease progression were assessed using the Kaplan-Meier method. RESULTS: The untreated MA group (n = 152) had higher HBV-DNA, alanine aminotransferase, and total bilirubin levels, and lower proportions of male and positive hepatitis B e antigen, compared to the NUC-VR group (n = 641). The untreated MA group had higher risks of HCC (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] 3.485, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.234-9.846; P = 0.018), but similar risks of cirrhotic complications (adjusted HR 0.649, 95% CI 0.227-1.854; P = 0.420), compared to the NUC-VR group. Inverse probability of treatment weighting analysis using propensity score showed that the untreated MA group had higher risks of HCC (HR 4.464, 95% CI 2.008-9.901; P < 0.001), but similar risks of cirrhotic complications (HR 1.171, 95% CI 0.594-2.309; P = 0.649), compared to the NUC-VR group. DISCUSSION: Through appropriate adjustment of potential prognostic factors, the untreated MA group consistently showed higher risks of HCC, but similar risks of cirrhotic complications, compared to the NUC-VR group. HCC risk might be reduced through earlier NUCs for the untreated MA group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e00036
JournalClinical and translational gastroenterology
Volume10
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jun 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gastroenterology

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