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Korean J Hepatol. 2011 Dec;17(4):261-267. English. Original Article.
Jung YK , Yeon JE , Lee KG , Jung ES , Kim JH , Kim JH , Seo YS , Yim HJ , Um SH , Ryu HS , Byun KS .
Department of Internal Medicine, Korea University Guro Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Internal Medicine, Korea University Anam Hospital, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Internal Medicine, Korea University Ansan Hospital, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Internal Medicine, Gachon University Gil Hospital, Gachon University of Medicine and Science, Incheon, Korea.

BACKGROUND/AIMS: We investigated the durability of the biochemical and virologic responses after adefovir (ADV) discontinuation in lamivudine-resistant (LMV-R) chronic hepatitis B (CHB) patients, and the outcomes of ADV discontinuation compared to that of ADV maintenance. METHODS: The indication for ADV treatment cessation was an undetectable level of hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA documented on two occasions at least 6 months apart. All patients received additional ADV for at least 12 months after the confirmation of undetectable HBV DNA (Cobas TaqMan PCR assay, <70 copies/mL). Of 36 patients who had a sufficient ADV therapeutic effect, 19 discontinued ADV treatment, while the others maintained it. A virologic rebound was arbitrarily defined as the redetection of HBV DNA at a level higher than 105 copies/mL. RESULTS: In the ADV discontinuation group, ADV treatment and additional therapy were administered for medians of 33 months (range, 12-47 months) and 18 months, respectively. The patients were followed for a median of 12 months (range, 3-30 months) after ADV cessation. During that period, 18 of 19 patients (95%) experienced viral relapse. Viral rebound was observed in six patients (32%). However, 12 of 18 patients (67%) exhibited serum HBV DNA levels of less than 105 copies/mL. Biochemical relapses were observed in four of the six patients with viral rebound. In the ADV maintenance group, patients were treated for a median of 53 months (range, 31-85 months), and 9 patients (53%) experienced viral breakthrough. CONCLUSIONS: During short-term follow-up after ADV discontinuation, most patients (95%) exhibited viral relapse, whereas and viral breakthrough occurred in about half of patients (53%) maintained on ADV therapy. Therefore, the durability of virologic response after ADV discontinuation in LMV-R patients was unsatisfactory. In addition, and viral breakthrough was not infrequent in the ADV continuation group.

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