The long-term outcome of interferon-alpha treated and untreated patients with HBeAg-negative chronic hepatitis B

J Hepatol. 2001 Feb;34(2):306-13. doi: 10.1016/s0168-8278(00)00094-5.


Background/aims: This study aimed to evaluate the effect of interferon-alpha therapy on the long-term outcome of HBeAg-negative chronic hepatitis B.

Methods: A cohort of 209 interferon-alpha treated and 195 untreated patients with histologically documented HBeAg-negative chronic hepatitis B were closely followed for a mean of 6 (1-13.5) years. Patients with decompensated liver disease and/or hepatocellular carcinoma at presentation were excluded.

Results: Survival and complication (liver decompensation and/or hepatocellular carcinoma) -free survival were significantly worse in patients with compared to those without baseline cirrhosis and in patients older compared to those younger than 45 years (P < 10(-4)). Sustained biochemical remission was achieved in 57 treated patients. Sustained responders had significantly better survival and complication-free survival than non-sustained responders (P = 0.027 and P = 0.019, respectively) or than untreated patients (P = 0.048 and P = 0.012, respectively). Multivariate analysis showed that absence of baseline cirrhosis, younger age, and sustained biochemical remission were independently associated with an improved outcome.

Conclusion: In patients with HBeAg-negative chronic hepatitis B, sustained biochemical remission induced by interferon-alpha is associated with improved long-term outcome, even in the presence of cirrhosis and old age, both known factors associated with worse survival. Therefore, long-term biochemical remission appears to represent a satisfactory therapeutic target in this setting.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / etiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Hepatitis B e Antigens / blood
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / complications
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / drug therapy*
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / mortality
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / virology
  • Humans
  • Interferon Type I / therapeutic use*
  • Liver Neoplasms / etiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Survival Rate


  • Hepatitis B e Antigens
  • Interferon Type I
  • Recombinant Proteins