|Long-term follow-up of Japanese patients with chronic hepatitis B treated with interferon-α|
Authors: Bui Xuan Truong, Yasushi Seo, Miyuki Kato, Kenichi Hamano, Toshiaki Ninomiya, Megumi Katayama, Hirotaka Kato, Yoshihiko Yano, Yoshitake Hayashi, Masato Kasuga
Department of Clinical Molecular Medicine, Division of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Diseases, Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine, 7-5-1 Kusunoki-cho, Chuo-ku, Kobe 650-0017, Japan
The long-term usefulness of interferon-alpha (IFN-α) in chronic hepatitis B remains controversial. To investigate the long-term efficacy of IFN-α therapy in chronic hepatitis B, 62 Japanese patients, including 27 patients treated with IFN-α (IFN group) and 35 patients without antiviral therapy matched by age and sex as controls (control group), were followed up for 2-14 years. At entry, the serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) level in the IFN group was significantly higher than that in the control group (238.6±250.1 vs. 142.3±152.1 IU/l, P<0.05). The prevalence of genotype C was 89%, with no difference between the two groups (93 vs. 86%). There was no significant difference in the presence of the precore mutation or the dual core promoter mutations between the IFN and control groups (37 vs. 46%, 74 vs. 66%). After long-term follow-up, the rate of sustained HBeAg seroconversion was comparable in the two groups (33 vs. 31%). Normalization of serum ALT level was seen in 44% of the IFN group and 51% of the control group, with no difference. There was also no difference in the percentage of cases with loss of serum HBV-DNA by PCR assay between the two groups (33 vs. 29%). During follow-up, two patients of the control group and three patients of the IFN group developed cirrhosis, and one of the IFN- treated patients progressed to hepatocellular carcinoma. The results of this long-term follow-up study showed that no benefit of IFN-α treatment was detectable during long-term follow-up in Japanese patients with chronic hepatitis B.