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A long-term study of liver-related events in Caucasian hepatitis B patients with normal ALT values and high viremia

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Background and study aims: There is ongoing debate whether antiviral therapy should be initiated in hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg)-negative patients with normal alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels but high HBV DNA levels >2,000 IU/mL. Since the need for antiviral therapy might be different between Asian and Caucasian patients, we studied the long-term disease outcome in Caucasian patients living in Western Europe. Patients and methods: One hundred sixteen patients with high HBV DNA levels (>2,000 IU/mL) at diagnosis were included in the high viremia group, while those with HBV DNA <2,000 IU/ mL were used as controls (n = 327). All patients were Caucasian, HBeAg negative, had normal ALT levels and had no significant liver disease at diagnosis. Results: Median follow-up was 7 + 9.8 years in the high viremia group and this was 10 + 12.5 years in controls. The cumulative probability of a liver-related event over 10 years was 4.8% vs 0.0% in the control group (p=.008). In multivariable analysis, high viremia group was associated with the occurrence of a liver-related event (hazards ratio (HR) 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.20-11.98, p=.023). In this subgroup, older age at diagnosis (HR 95% CI: 1.011.16, p=.023) predicted a higher risk of liver-related event. In the high viremia group, liver-related mortality was 0.9% and none of the patients developed hepatocellular carcinoma. Conclusions: HBV DNA >2,000 IU/mL influences the long-term disease outcome in Caucasian HBeAg-negative patients living in Western Europe. Nevertheless, the risk of liver-related events is low. (Acta gastroenterol. belg., 2022, 85, 56-61).
ISSN: 1784-3227
Issue: 1
Volume: 85
Pages: 56 - 61
Number of pages: 6
Publication year:2022
Keywords:hepatitis B, Caucasian, inactive carrier, ALT, HBV DNA