Thymosin alpha1 treatment of chronic hepatitis B: results of a phase III multicentre, randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled study

J Viral Hepat. 1999 Sep;6(5):397-403. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2893.1999.00181.x.


Previous clinical trials have suggested that thymosin alpha1 (Talpha1), an immunomodulatory peptide, may be effective in the treatment of chronic hepatitis B (CHB). The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy of Talpha1 in a multicentre, placebo-controlled and double-blind study of 97 patients with serum hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA- and hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg)-positive CHB. Patients who had been hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) positive for at least 12 months entered a 3-month screening period prior to randomization. Forty-nine patients received Talpha1 (1.6 mg) and 48 patients received placebo, twice weekly for 6 months, and were followed-up for an additional 6 months. At inclusion, both groups were comparable for age, gender, histological grading, and aminotransferase and HBV DNA levels. A complete response to treatment, defined as a sustained serum HBV DNA-negative status (two negative results at least 3 months apart) during the 12-month study, with negative HBV DNA and HBeAg values at month 12, was seen in seven (14%) patients given Talpha1 and in two (4%) patients treated with placebo (P = 0.084). Five (10%) patients given Talpha1 and four (8%) patients given placebo exhibited a delayed response (defined as sustained serum HBV DNA negativity achieved after the 12-month study period with negative HBV DNA and HBeAg values at the last assessment). A total of 12 (25%) patients given Talpha1 and six (13%) patients given placebo showed a sustained loss of HBV DNA with a negative HBeAg value during or following the 12-month study period (P < 0.11). These results do not confirm observations of treatment efficacy reported in other clinical studies.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / therapeutic use
  • Adult
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • DNA, Viral / blood
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Hepatitis B e Antigens / blood
  • Hepatitis B virus / isolation & purification
  • Hepatitis B virus / physiology
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / drug therapy*
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / virology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Thymalfasin
  • Thymosin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Thymosin / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Antiviral Agents
  • DNA, Viral
  • Hepatitis B e Antigens
  • Thymosin
  • Thymalfasin