Abstract Background Hepatitis B virus (HBV) RNA is a novel serum biomarker that has the potential to predict treatment response in patients with chronic hepatitis B. We explored whether HBV RNA serum levels can predict hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) seroconversion in patients treated with peginterferon alfa-2a. Methods Serum samples from HBeAg-positive patients previously treated with peginterferon alfa-2a in two large randomized controlled trials were retrospectively analyzed. HBV RNA levels were measured using a real-time polymerase chain reaction assay. Ability of individual biomarkers to predict HBeAg seroconversion at 24 weeks post-treatment was evaluated using receiver operating characteristics (ROC) analyses. Results The study included 131 subjects (70% male, 96% Asians, 35% HBV genotypes B and 61% C), 76 treated with peginterferon alfa-2a alone and 55 in combination with LAM. Median HBV RNA levels were significantly lower, at all time points, in patients achieving HBeAg seroconversion. Levels of HBV RNA at treatment weeks 12 and 24 showed good ability to predict HBeAg seroconversion (AUROC scores >0.75, p<0.001). A HBV RNA cutoff of >5.5 log10 copies/mL identified 30% of non-responders at week 12 (negative predictive value >90%). Conclusion Serum HBV RNA is an early predictor of HBeAg seroconversion in patients treated with peginterferon alfa-2a. PegIFN, Stopping Rules, CHB, Biomarkers, HBV RNA, life cycle © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press for the Infectious Diseases Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices)
The Journal of Infectious Diseases – Oxford University Press
Published: May 8, 2018
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