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Clinical implications of hepatitis B surface antigen quantitation in the natural history of chronic hepatitis B virus infection

Journal of Clinical Virology
DOI: 10.1016/j.jcv.2014.01.013
  • Hbsag Quantitation
  • Hbv Dna
  • Age
  • Natural History
  • Design
  • Medicine


Abstract Background HBsAg quantitation may be useful for managing patients with hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. Objectives We explored the clinical implications of HBsAg quantitation for patients with HBsAg levels >250IU/ml (Abbott Diagnostics). Study design Two hundred and thirty-three HBV-infected patients comprising 29 immune tolerance cases, 49 treatment-naïve HBeAg-positive chronic hepatitis B (CHB) cases, 91 inactive HBV carrier cases, and 64 treatment-naïve HBeAg-negative CHB cases were analyzed. HBsAg was quantified by the Architect HBsAg assay (Abbott Diagnostics) after a 1:500 automated dilution. Results and conclusions HBsAg (log10IU/ml) was established for immune tolerance (4.50±0.43), HBeAg-positive CHB (4.17±0.66), inactive HBV carrier (3.32±0.44), and HBeAg-negative CHB (3.23±0.40); (p=4.92×10−35). No significant difference was observed between inactive HBV carrier and HBeAg-negative CHB (p=0.247). The proportions of HBsAg <2000IU/ml for inactive HBV carrier and HBeAg-negative CHB were 51.6% and 59.3%, respectively (p=0.341). Positive correlations between HBsAg and HBV DNA were observed for immune tolerance (p=1.23×10−4) and HBeAg-positive CHB (p=0.003), but not for HBeAg-negative CHB (p=0.432). A negative correlation between HBsAg and age was observed for immune tolerance (p=0.030), HBeAg-positive CHB (p=0.016), and inactive HBV carrier (p=0.001), but not in HBeAg-negative CHB (p=0.249). No significant differences between HBsAg and ALT for HBeAg-positive (p=0.338) or HBeAg-negative CHB (p=0.564) were observed. For patients with HBsAg quantitation >250IU/ml, HBsAg may reflect HBV DNA replication for HBeAg-positive cases. HBsAg is not a suitable marker for evaluating hepatitis activity and distinguishing between cases of HBeAg-negative CHB and inactive HBV carrier state.

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