Background/Aims: Despite the potent suppression of the hepatitis B virus with modern antiviral agents, only a minority of HBeAg-positive patients achieve hepatitis B e antigen seroconversion. We aimed to explore the potential efficacy of combination therapy consisting of pegylated interferon (p-IFN) and an oral antiviral agent in patients with HBeAgpositive chronic hepatitis B. Methods: The treatment protocol consisted of p-IFN-a-2a at 180 g/wk for 48 weeks, with either entecavir or tenofovir added 8 weeks after the initiation of p-IFN and continued for at least 6 months after HBe seroconversion was achieved. Results: To date, 10 patients have been treated under the protocol (eight adults, mean age 36±8 years; two adolescents, aged 12 and 16 years). All eight adult patients experienced loss of HBeAg at a mean of 72.3±66.9 weeks, including six patients who also developed anti-HBe and one patient who had HBs seroconversion. Although both adolescents remain on therapy, one adolescent had HBs seroconversion without HBe seroconversion. A total of nine of our 10 patients experienced a favorable serological transition. Conclusions: The combination of p-IFN and a modern oral antiviral agent may be more effective than monotherapy with either class of agent in the treatment of HBeAg-positive chronic hepatitis B patients.
- Combination antiviral therapy
- Entecavir or tenofovir
- HBe seroconversion
- HBeAg-positive chronic hepatitis B
- Pegylated interferon
ASJC Scopus subject areas