Gut Liver.  2021 May;15(3):430-439. 10.5009/gnl20074.

Partial Virological Response after 2 Years of Entecavir Therapy Increases the Risk of Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Patients with Hepatitis B Virus-Associated Cirrhosis

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Gachon University Gil Medical Center, Gachon University College of Medicine, Incheon, Korea
  • 2Department of Internal Medicine, Korea University Ansan Hospital, Ansan, Korea
  • 3Department of Internal Medicine, Konkuk University School of Medicine, and 4 Department of Internal Medicine, Korea University Guro Hospital, Seoul, Korea

Abstract

Background/Aims
The clinical significance of partial virological response (PVR) in patients undergoing antiviral therapy is not well known. This study investigated whether PVR after 2 years of entecavir (ETV) therapy is associated with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development in cirrhotic patients.
Methods
A total of 472 naïve patients with hepatitis B virus (HBV)-associated cirrhosis who were treated with ETV for at least 2 years were retrospectively enrolled. Clinical characteristics, laboratory data, PVR, and noninvasive fibrosis markers (aspartate aminotransferase to platelet ratio and FIB-4 index) at 2 years after ETV commencement were analyzed for HCC risk.
Results
After excluding those who developed HCC within 2 years of ETV therapy, 359 patients (mean age, 51±10 years; male 64.3%) were examined. During a median follow-up of 82 months, 80 patients developed HCC. In the univariate analysis, older age (hazard ratio [HR], 1.056; p<0.001), PVR (HR, 2.536; p=0.002), higher aspartate aminotransferase (HR, 1.018; p=0.005), lower albumin level (HR, 0.463; p<0.001), lower platelet count (HR, 0.993; p=0.01), and higher FIB-4 index (HR, 1.141; p<0.001) at 2 years after ETV commencement were risk factors for HCC. In the multivariate analysis, older age (HR, 1.046; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.022 to 1.072; p<0.001), PVR (HR, 2.358; 95% CI, 1.310 to 4.245; p=0.004), and higher FIB-4 index (HR, 1.103; 95% CI, 1.035 to 1.177; p=0.003) were independent risk factors.
Conclusions
PVR and higher FIB-4 index after 2 years of ETV therapy were independent risk factors for HCC. Therefore, efforts to accomplish a complete virological response and reduce the FIB-4 index should be made.

Keyword

Partial virological response; Entecavir; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Hepatitis B virus; Liver cirrhosis
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