New developments in antiviral therapy for chronic hepatitis B

Vox Sang. 2010 May;98(4):481-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1423-0410.2009.01282.x. Epub 2009 Nov 25.


Chronic hepatitis B affects approximately 400 million people in the world with a substantial disease burden like liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Treatment for chronic hepatitis B has improved dramatically in the last decade, resulting in more patients achieving a state of inactive disease. Currently two treatment strategies are available; treatment with peginterferon (peg-IFN) or nucleos(t)ide analogues with the aim to suppress hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA to subsequently avoid the development of cirrhosis and HCC. Unfortunately, treatment with peg-IFN can be suboptimal with important adverse effects and nucleos(t)ide analogues provoke resistance. At present, no new promising compounds attacking the HBV life cycle are in development. However, for prediction of sustained response or treatment failure, data from the long-term large peg-IFN trials provide important response markers. For the future the focus is to achieve HBsAg loss and anti-HBs conversion which is the closest the treatment can get to a cure. This review summarizes the current treatment options with their response rates and discusses future strategies for chronic hepatitis B treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha / therapeutic use*
  • Recombinant Proteins


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha
  • Recombinant Proteins