BACKGROUND/AIMS: The optimal timing for discontinuing oral antiviral therapy in patients with HBeAg-positive chronic hepatitis B (CHB) is unclear. The aim of our study was to investigate sustained remission after stopping antiviral therapy in patients with HBeAg-positive CHB. METHODS: We analyzed the medical records of 58 patients who were HBeAg-positive and had discontinued antiviral therapy. Antiviral therapy was discontinued after HBeAg seroconversion and HBV DNA negativity for 6-12 months with consolidation therapy. Virologic relapse was defined as an increase in serum HBV DNA >2,000 IU/mL. RESULTS: No difference was observed between the virologic non-relapse and virologic relapse groups in baseline HBV DNA level (p=0.441) or duration of seroconversion (p=0.070). Time-to-undetectable HBV DNA during treatment was shorter in the virologic non-relapse group (29 patients) compared to the relapse group (29 patients) (4.9+/-2.6 vs. 13.2+/-12.7 months; p<0.01). Cumulative relapse rates were 12.7 in month 3, 32.7 in month 6, 47.3 in month 12, and 52.7% in month 18. We determined by multivariate analysis that the consolidation period (> or =18 months, p=0.020) and early virologic response (HBV DNA <20 IU/mL) at six months during antiviral therapy (p=0.017) were significant predictors for sustained remission. CONCLUSIONS: A consolidation period of at least 18 months and early virological response at six months during antiviral therapy were associated with sustained remission in patients with HBeAg-positive CHB after treatment.