Revista do Instituto de Medicina Tropical de São Paulo
On-line version ISSN 1678-9946
SILVA, Luiz Caetano da et al. Simultaneous quantitation of serum HBV DNA and HBeAg can distinguish between slow and fast viral responses to antiviral therapy in patients with chronic hepatitis B. Rev. Inst. Med. trop. S. Paulo [online]. 2009, vol.51, n.5, pp.261-268. ISSN 1678-9946. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0036-46652009000500005.
BACKGROUND: The quantitation of serum HBeAg is not commonly used to monitor viral response to therapy in chronic hepatitis B. METHODS: In this study, 21 patients receiving varying therapies were followed and their viral response monitored by concomitant viral load and HBeAg quantitation in order to study the meaning and the kinetics of both parameters. RESULTS: It was possible to distinguish between three different patterns of viral response. The first was characterized by a simultaneous decrease in serum HBV DNA and HBeAg. The second pattern was characterized by a decrease in serum HBeAg but persistent detection of HBV DNA. The third pattern was characterized by undetectable HBV DNA with persistent HBeAg positivity, which points to a non-response (Pattern III-B) except when HBeAg levels showed a slow but steady drop, characterizing a "slow responder" patient (Pattern III-A). CONCLUSIONS: The first pattern is compatible with a viral response. A long-term HBeAg seropositivity with a slow and persistent decrease (Pattern III-A) is also compatible with a viral response and calls for a prolongation of anti-viral treatment.
Keywords : Hepatitis B; Serological markers; Treatment response; Treatment follow-up.