Background/aims: To study the outcome and the virologic profiles of severe hepatitis exacerbations due to YMDD mutants in lamivudine-treated patients.
Methods: Eighteen lamivudine-treated patients with severe hepatitis exacerbations due to YMDD mutants were recruited. Laboratory and clinical parameters were monitored. Viral genotypes and YMDD mutations were determined.
Results: None of the 18 patients had YMDD wild-type during exacerbations. Three (17%) and 15 (83%) patients had genotypes B and C, respectively. Elevated bilirubin levels and prolonged prothrombin time were found in 11 (61%) and six patients (33%) respectively. Three patients (17%) had adverse outcome with the development of ascites and/or encephalopathy. One of these patients required liver transplantation and one died. Both patients had evidence of cirrhosis before treatment and hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) seroreversion from anti-HBe positivity. The remaining 16 patients (89%) have no evidence of pre-existing cirrhosis. Thirty seven percent of patients had normal alanine aminotransferase levels at the last follow-up. The median HBV DNA level at the last follow-up was significantly lower than the pre-treatment level (P=0.009).
Conclusions: Though the majority of patients with severe hepatitis exacerbations due to YMDD mutants had uneventful course, early liver transplantation should be considered in patients with pre-existing cirrhosis and HBeAg seroreversion.