BACKGROUND: Entecavir is an effective treatment for chronic hepatitis B. However, data from clinical practice are limited, especially in hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg)-positive patients. METHODS: We retrospectively analysed data from 190 nucleos(t)ide-naive chronic hepatitis B patients treated with entecavir (0.5 mg/day) in 25 Spanish centres. Virological response (hepatitis B virus DNA <50 IU/ml by PCR), biochemical response (alanine aminotransferase ≤1×upper limit of normal) and serological response were assessed at weeks 12, 24, 36 and 48. RESULTS: The cohort was 73% male, 84% Caucasian, and 30% HBeAg-positive. Thirty-four per cent of the patients who underwent biopsy had advanced fibrosis/cirrhosis. At baseline, the median hepatitis B virus DNA was 5.94 (interquartile range=4.64-7.39) log10 IU/ml. At week 48, 83% of the patients (61% HBeAg-positive; 92% HBeAg-negative) achieved a virological response and 82% (78% HBeAg-positive; 83% HBeAg-negative) of those with elevated baseline alanine aminotransferase showed a biochemical response. Twenty-six per cent (14/54) of the HBeAg-positive patients lost HBeAg and 22% (12/54) achieved seroconversion to anti-HBe. A significant correlation was observed between virological response at week 12 and the rate of seroconversion to anti-HBe at week 48 (P=0.039). This correlation was also noted at weeks 24, 36 and 48 (P=0.003, 0.002 and 0.017, respectively). Three patients (2%) showed clearance of hepatitis B surface antigen. No resistance to entecavir was observed. Treatment with entecavir was generally well tolerated. No patients discontinued treatment due to adverse events. CONCLUSION: Entecavir monotherapy in clinical practice was well tolerated and resulted in a rapid and significant reduction in viral load. A virological response at week 12 correlated significantly with the rate of seroconversion to anti-HBe at week 48. © 2012 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
- chronic hepatitis B
- clinical practice