Department of Infectious Diseases, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Beijing 100730, China.
Telbivudine, one of the five nucleos(t)ide antiviral drugs, was reported to be superior to lamivudine in a better biochemical, virological, and histological response for treatment-naive patients in the GLOBE trial. The aim of this study was to determine the antiviral potency, viral resistance, and the signifcance of early response for long-term telbivudine treatment.
We recruited 161 patients of chronic hepatitis B (CHB) on telbivudine between January 2009 and September 2011 in Macau, China. The serum hepatitis B virus DNA levels, hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) seroconversion, alanine aminotransferase (ALT) normalization, and viral resistance were analyzed.
The median age and follow-up duration were 48 years and 16.9 months. All patients were followed up for at least 6 months, while data were collected for 132, 120, 95, and 53 patients at 12, 24, 48, and 96 weeks respectively. The cumulative HBeAg seroconversion rate was 20.8% and only three patients (1.9%) presented with telbivudine low level resistance. The ALT normalization rates were 76.9% at 48 weeks and 77.6% at 96 weeks. Undetectable HBV DNA was achieved by 1.8%, 31.6%, 60%, and 74.1% in HBeAg positive patients and 29.3%, 60.3%, 84%, and 84.6% in HBeAg negative patients at each time point. Week 12 HBV DNA level < 1000 copies/ml (< 200 IU/ml) was a better predictor of viral suppression at 2-year follow-up (P = 0.001, OR = 27.00) than undetectable HBV DNA level at week 24 (P = 0.120, OR = 4.81).
Two-year telbivudine treatment yielded high rates of viral suppression and ALT normalization. Serum HBV DNA level at week 12 is a superior predictor for long-term viral suppression.