1Department of Medical Sciences, University of Turin, Turin, Italy.
2Division of Gastroenterology, Molinette Hospital, Città della Salute e della Scienza, Turin, Italy.
3Department of Medical Sciences, University of Turin, Turin, Italy - email@example.com.
Chronic Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection encompasses a wide virologic and clinical spectrum with heterogeneous outcomes. The natural history of chronic HBV infection ranges from an inactive carrier state (hepatitis B e antigen-negative chronic infection) to progressive chronic hepatitis that may evolve in end-stage liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma. The issue becomes even more complicated when we consider the unique biology of the virus; the HBV covalently-closed-circular DNA, that acts as virus transcription template, is the key factor responsible of the persistence of the infection even after hepatitis B surface antigen loss. In the last decade, novel serological and immunological biomarkers associated to the core protein of HBV have been approached in different clinical conditions. Remarkable results have been obtained both in the setting of overt and occult HBV infection. Here, we reviewed the meaning and the potential clinical applications of the measurement of core antigen and antibodies.