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Original article

Sustained immune control in HBeAg-positive patients who switched from entecavir therapy to pegylated interferon-α2a: 1 year follow-up of the OSST study

Meifang Han, Jiaji Jiang, Jinlin Hou, Deming Tan, Yongtao Sun, Mianzhi Zhao, Qin Ning

Corresponding author name: Qin Ning
Corresponding author e-mail: qning@vip.sina.com

Citation: Antiviral Therapy 2016; 21:337-344
doi: 10.3851/IMP3019

Date accepted: 15 November 2015
Date published online: 06 January 2016

Abstract

Background: In the OSST study, hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg)-positive chronic hepatitis B patients who switched from long-term entecavir (ETV) therapy to pegylated interferon-α2a (PEG-IFN-α2a; 40 kDa) achieved higher rates of HBeAg seroconversion and hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) loss than those who continued ETV. Herein we report the sustainability of serological responses during 1 year of untreated follow-up in patients who switched from ETV to PEG-IFN-α2a therapy.

Methods: A total of 62 patients who completed 48 weeks of PEG-IFN-α2a therapy were followed-up for 48 weeks off treatment. Primary end points were HBeAg seroconversion and maintenance of HBeAg seroconversion at 48 weeks post-treatment. Secondary end points included HBsAg loss, HBV DNA <1,000 copies/ml and alanine aminotransferase normalization (<1× upper limit of normal).

Results: The HBeAg seroconversion rate increased from 17.7% (11/62) at the end of treatment to 38.7% (24/62) 1 year post-treatment. Sustained HBeAg seroconversion was achieved by 63.6% (7/11) patients with end-of-treatment responses, while late HBeAg seroconversion was achieved by 33.3% (17/51) of patients who did not have end-of-treatment responses. Sustained HBsAg loss was documented in 6 of 7 patients, and sustained HBV DNA suppression was achieved in 60% (27/45) of patients with an end-of-treatment response.

Conclusions: In patients who do not achieve HBeAg seroconversion during long-term ETV therapy, switching to finite treatment with PEG-IFN-α2a produces HBeAg seroconversion in a substantial proportion of patients at end of treatment and during 1 year of follow-up. Moreover, HBeAg seroconversion and HBsAg loss are sustained in most patients during 1 year of untreated follow-up.

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