HBF is pleased to connect our blog readers to Christine Kukka’s monthly HBV Journal Review that she writes for the HBV Advocate. The journal presents the latest in hepatitis B research, treatment, and prevention from recent academic and medical journals. This month, the following topics are explored:
- Ground-Breaking Study Finds Antiviral Treatment Does Reduce Cancer Risk
- Sequential Treatment of Antivirals Followed by Interferon Spurs HBeAg Seroconversio
- Is the Current Recommended Dose of Entecavir Too Low for Some Patients?
- Measuring Liver Stiffness, Spleen Size and Platelets Can Predict Cancer Risk
- Tenofovir Effective in Patients with Lamivudine Resistance
- Entecavir and Adefovir Combo Works Best in Lamivudine-Resistant Patients
- When Is It Safe to Stop Antivirals? Experts Still Not Sure
- Liver Stiffness Test Identifies Which Patients Develop Liver Damage After Treatment Stops
- Study Suggest Hepatitis B Immunization Could Cut Diabetes Risk by Half
- Herbal Medication Treatment Linked to Liver Failure in Patient with Hepatitis B
HBV Journal Review
July 1, 2014
Volume 11, Issue 7
by Christine M. Kukka
Ground-Breaking Study Finds Antiviral Treatment Does Reduce Cancer Risk
For the first time, an authoritative study has found that antiviral treatment appears to reduce the risk of hepatitis B virus (HBV)-related liver cancer. Even though treated patients had more liver damage, their cancer rates were similar to untreated, healthier patients.
Researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examined the health records of 2,671 hepatitis B patients treated at four health centers across the U.S. between 1992 and 2011. Half of the patients were Asian-American and about 31% (820) had been treated with antivirals. The treated patients tended to have more liver damage, were older, male and less likely to be Asian-American than untreated patients in the study.
Researchers, reporting in the June issue of the journal ofClinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, found that 67 (3%) of the 2,671 patients developed liver cancer over the study period. Twenty of the 820 patients treated with antivirals developed cancer, compared to 47 of the 1,851 untreated patients.
Treated patients with viral loads less than 20,000 IU/mL had a significantly lower risk of cancer than untreated patients with similarly low viral loads.
Antivirals appeared to confer some protection against liver cancer even in patients with fibrosis (liver inflammation) and cirrhosis (liver scarring), suggesting that viral loads may be the primary culprit behind liver cancer. By suppressing viral load, liver cancer was avoided in many of these high-risk patients with serious liver damage.
Researchers wrote, “…We found that antiviral treatment had a beneficial effect across a spectrum of viral load levels (and disease severity.)”
Sequential Treatment of Antivirals Followed by Interferon Spurs HBeAg Seroconversion
Chinese researchers found that hepatitis B “e” antigen (HBeAg)-positive patients who were treated first with the antiviral entecavir (Baraclude) and then with pegylated interferon achieve a higher rate of HBeAg seroconversion (loss of HBeAg and development of “e” antibodies) than patients treated with only entecavir.