Mortality, liver transplantation, and hepatocellular carcinoma among patients with chronic hepatitis B treated with entecavir vs lamivudine

Gastroenterology. 2014 Jul;147(1):152-61. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2014.02.033. Epub 2014 Feb 25.


Background & aims: Little is known about whether the antiviral agent entecavir is more effective than a less potent drug, lamivudine, in reducing the risk of death and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in patients with chronic hepatitis B.

Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of data from 5374 consecutive adult patients with chronic hepatitis B, treated with entecavir (n = 2000) or lamivudine (n = 3374), at a tertiary referral hospital in Seoul, Korea, from November 1, 1999, through December 31, 2011. Data were collected from patients for up to 6 years and analyzed by a multivariable Cox proportional hazards model for the entire cohort and for propensity score-matched cohorts.

Results: During the study period, 302 patients (5.6%) died, 169 (3.1%) received a liver transplant, and 525 (9.8%) developed HCC. Multivariable analyses showed that compared with lamivudine, entecavir therapy was associated with a significantly lower risk of death or transplantation (hazard ratio [HR], 0.49; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.38-0.64), but a similar risk of HCC (HR, 1.08; 95% CI, 0.87-1.34). In the 1792 overall propensity-matched pairs, entecavir again was associated with a significantly lower risk of death or transplantation (HR, 0.49; 95% CI, 0.37-0.64) and a similar risk of HCC (HR, 1.01; 95% CI, 0.80-1.27). Entecavir also reduced the risk of death or transplantation, compared with lamivudine, in 860 pairs of patients with cirrhosis (HR, 0.42; 95% CI, 0.31-0.57) but there were no differences in risk for HCC (HR, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.78-1.28). However, entecavir and lamivudine did not have significantly different effects on clinical outcome in 878 pairs of patients without cirrhosis.

Conclusions: In a retrospective study of 5374 patients with chronic hepatitis B virus infection, entecavir therapy was associated with a significantly lower risk of death or transplantation than lamivudine. However, the drugs did not have different effects on HCC risk.

Keywords: Comparative Effectiveness; HBV; Liver Cancer; Survival.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Guanine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Guanine / therapeutic use
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / drug therapy*
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / mortality*
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / surgery
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Lamivudine / therapeutic use*
  • Liver Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Liver Transplantation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Republic of Korea
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Lamivudine
  • entecavir
  • Guanine