Hepatitis B genotypes and the response to interferon therapy

J Hepatol. 2000 Dec;33(6):998-1002. doi: 10.1016/s0168-8278(00)80135-x.


Background/aims: Possible pathogenic differences among hepatitis B virus (HBV) genotypes have been observed; however, the response to interferon therapy among HBV genotypes remains unknown. We therefore analyzed the efficacy of interferon alfa in the treatment of chronic hepatitis B patients with different HBV genotypes.

Methods: Fifty-eight genotype B or C infected chronic hepatitis B patients who had been treated with interferon alfa-2b were retrospectively studied. The response to interferon was defined as normalization of serum aminotransferase level, loss of hepatitis B e antigen and HBV DNA 48 weeks post-treatment.

Results: Baseline data of both groups of patients were comparable; however, genotype C patients had a higher serum aminotransferase level and a higher frequency of core promoter mutation. The response rate was 41% and 15% in genotype B and C patients, respectively (p=0.045). In those with higher serum aminotransferase levels, the response rate was 50% and 17%, respectively (p=0.025). Additionally, younger age and genotype B infection may predict a better response to interferon alfa.

Conclusions: HBV genotype C, compared to genotype B, is associated with a higher frequency of core promoter mutation, and a lower response rate to interferon alfa therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alanine Transaminase / blood
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • DNA, Viral / blood
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Hepatitis B / blood
  • Hepatitis B / drug therapy*
  • Hepatitis B / virology*
  • Hepatitis B e Antigens / blood
  • Hepatitis B virus / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Mutation
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Viral Core Proteins / genetics


  • Antiviral Agents
  • DNA, Viral
  • Hepatitis B e Antigens
  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Viral Core Proteins
  • Alanine Transaminase