Gut Liver.  2019 Mar;13(2):197-205. 10.5009/gnl18204.

Liver Cirrhosis, Not Antiviral Therapy, Predicts Clinical Outcome in Cohorts with Heterogeneous Hepatitis B Viral Status

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, CHA Bundang Medical Center, CHA University School of Medicine, Seongnam, Korea.
  • 2Department of Internal Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


Antiviral therapy (AVT) reduces the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development in patients with chronic hepatitis B (CHB). This multicenter retrospective study investigated the effects of AVT and hepatitis B virus (HBV)-related factors on the risk of HCC development in a cohort with heterogeneous HBV status.
A total of 1,843 patients with CHB from two institutions were included in this study. Ultrasound and laboratory tests, including the α-fetoprotein test, were conducted regularly to detect HCC development.
The mean age of our study population (1,063 men and 780 women) was 49.4 years. Cirrhosis was identified in 617 patients (33.5%). During follow-up (median, 42.5 months), 81 patients developed HCC (1.39% per person-year). A total of 645 patients (35.0%) received ongoing AVT at enrollment. Ongoing AVT was not significantly associated with the risk of HCC development (all p>0.05). HBV-related variables (HBV DNA level, hepatitis B e antigen status, and alanine aminotransferase level) were also not significantly associated with the risk of HCC development (all p>0.05). In contrast, cirrhosis was significantly associated with the risk of HCC development, regardless of adjustment (adjusted hazard ratio=4.098 to 7.020; all p<0.05). Cirrhosis significantly predicted the risk of HCC development in subgroups with and without ongoing AVT at enrollment, regardless of adjustment.
Our study showed that cirrhosis, not AVT and HBV-related variables, was associated with HCC development in a cohort of patients with heterogeneous HBV status. Our results may help clinicians apply individualized surveillance strategies according to fibrotic status in patients with CHB.


Liver cirrhosis; Fibrosis; Antiviral therapy; Hepatitis B; Clinical outcome
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