Coinfection with hepatitis B and C or B, C and delta viruses results in severe chronic liver disease and responds poorly to interferon-alpha treatment

J Viral Hepat. 1995;2(1):39-45. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2893.1995.tb00070.x.


Chronic coinfection with the hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis delta (HDV) viruses is known to cause severe liver disease, but the importance of coinfection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) and HBV has not been well documented. In the present study, the clinical and pathological severity of liver disease among patients with hepatitis resulting from multiple viruses was examined and an open trial of the efficacy of interferon-alpha 2b (IFN-alpha) treatment was conducted. Nineteen patients with chronic HBV and HCV infection and 17 with HBV, HCV and HDV infection were studied; 12 in each group underwent liver biopsy. For each coinfected patient, two patients infected with HCV alone were selected as controls, and these were matched for age and risk factor and were estimated to have been infected for a similar duration. Coinfection with HBV and HCV or HBV, HCV and HDV was associated with more severe liver disease than HCV alone (P < 0.01); total Scheuer score, portal and lobular inflammation and fibrosis were all worse in coinfected subjects. Eight patients with chronic HBV and HCV were treated with recombinant IFN-alpha 2b [3 million units (MU), thrice weekly for 6 months]. Liver function tests normalized in two patients and one lost hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg). Seven patients with hepatitis B, C and delta coinfection were treated with the same regimen and only one normalized serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) during (and after) treatment. It is concluded that coinfection with multiple hepatitis viruses is associated with histologically more severe liver disease than HCV alone.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alanine Transaminase / blood
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Hepatitis B / complications*
  • Hepatitis B / pathology
  • Hepatitis B / therapy
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens / analysis
  • Hepatitis C / complications*
  • Hepatitis C / pathology
  • Hepatitis C / therapy
  • Hepatitis D / complications*
  • Hepatitis D / pathology
  • Hepatitis D / therapy
  • Humans
  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha / therapeutic use*
  • Liver / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recombinant Proteins


  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens
  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Alanine Transaminase