Higher Efficacy of Sequential Therapy with Interferon-α and Lamivudine Combination Compared to Lamivudine Monotherapy in HBeAg Positive Chronic Hepatitis B Patients

Sarin, Shiv Kumar; Kumar, Manoj; Kumar, Rakesh; Kazim, Syed Naqui; Guptan, Rajkumar Chander; Sakhuja, Puja; Sharma, Barjesh Chander
November 2005
American Journal of Gastroenterology;Nov2005, Vol. 100 Issue 11, p2463
Academic Journal
BACKGROUND: Monotherapy with interferon (IFN) or lamivudine is effective in a limited proportion of chronic hepatitis B (CHB) patients. A sequential combination may have better therapeutic effects by sustained viral suppression combined with immunomodulation. AIM: To compare the efficacy of sequential lamivudine and IFN therapy versus lamivudine monotherapy in HBeAg positive CHB patients. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Seventy-five treatment naïve HBeAg positive patients with histologically proven CHB and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) >1.5 × ULN received lamivudine 100 mg per day for 52 wks with IFN 5 MIU per day added for 16 wks after the first 8 wks (group A, n = 38; age 30 ± 12 yr; M:F = 35:3) or lamivudine 100 mg per day for 52 wks (group B, n = 37; age 30 ± 16 yr; M:F = 31:6). Biochemical and virologic responses were assessed at weeks 52 and 76 and analysis was done on intention-to-treat. Serial samples were studied for the emergence of lamivudine-resistant YM552I/VDD mutations by direct sequencing. RESULTS: At week 52, HBeAg loss occurred in 15 (39.5%) in group A and 14 (37.8%) in group B ( p= 1.00). HBeAg loss, anti-HBe appearance, and undetectable DNA levels were seen in 26.3% and 13.5% ( p= 0.249), respectively. Nine of 10 (90%) patients in group A and 1 of 5 (20%) in group B maintained the response through week 76 ( p= 0.017). At week 76, 5 additional patients in group A and 3 in group B further achieved the primary end point and the overall HBeAg loss was observed in 44.7% and 18.9% ( p= 0.025) and HBeAg loss, anti-HBe appearance, and undetectable hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA levels in 36.8% and 10.8% in group A and group B, respectively ( p= 0.026). At week 76, undetectable HBV DNA was seen in 39.5% and 16.2% in groups A and B, respectively ( p= 0.039). Normal ALT was seen in 47.7% and 40.5% at week 52 ( p= 0.489) and ALT was normal in 39.5% and 13.5% at week 76 ( p= 0.018) in groups A and B, respectively. YM552I/VDD-resistant mutants emerged in 6 of 38 (15.5%) patients in group A, and 3 of 37 (8.1%) in group B ( p= ns). The rate of histological improvement was comparable in the two groups. CONCLUSIONS: Our results demonstrate that sequential therapy is superior to lamivudine monotherapy in achieving sustained seroconversion, ALT normalization, and HBV DNA loss. Compared to 80% with sequential therapy, only 20% Indian patients with CHB did not relapse after stopping lamivudine monotherapy.


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