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Korean J Hepatol > Volume 15(3); 2009 > Article
The Korean Journal of Hepatology 2009;15(3): 383-390.
doi: https://doi.org/10.3350/kjhep.2009.15.3.383
The Korean Journal Of Clinical outcomes and development of hepatocellular carcinoma after HBsAg seroclearance in chronic hepatitis B patients
Ji Hoon Kim
Division of Gastroenterology, Guro Hospital, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
Background & Aims: Our aims were to study the virologic, histologic, and clinical outcome in chronic hepatitis B (CHB) patients with hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) seroclearance.
We determined the age of HBsAg seroclearance that is associated with a lower risk for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in 298 CHB patients (median follow-up, 108 months). The following virologic and histologic features were also determined: liver stiffness (n=229), liver histology, serum HBV DNA levels over time (n=265), intrahepatic HBV DNA with covalently closed circular DNA (cccDNA) levels, and messenger RNA (mRNA) expression.
The median age of HBsAg seroclearance was 49.6 years. Seven (2.4%) patients developed HCC. Cumulative risk for HCC was higher in patients with HBsAg seroclearance at ages >50 years compared with those with HBsAg seroclearance at ages <50 (P≥0.004) years. Of these 2 groups of patients, 29.5% and 7.9%, respectively, had significant fibrosis by liver stiffness measurement (P=0.001), and 15.4% of patients had mild histologic fibrosis. Intrahepatic total HBV DNA and cccDNA were detected in 100% and 79.3% of patients, respectively. All patients had undetectable surface and precore/pregenomic RNA transcripts. One (9.1%) patient had X mRNA expression. Serum HBV DNA were detectable in 13.4%, 6.1%, and 3.7% of patients within 1 year and 5~10 and >10 years after HBsAg seroclearance, respectively, and 82.1% patients had persistently normal alanine aminotransferase levels.
HBV persisted at low replicative and transcriptional levels after HBsAg seroclearance. HBsAg seroclearance at age <50 years was associated with a lower risk for the development of HCC.
KeyWords: Chronic hepatitis B; HBsAg seroclearance; Hepatocellular carcinoma
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