Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 25057295
Therap Adv Gastroenterol 2014 Jul;7(4):148-55
The goal of chronic hepatitis B (CHB) treatment is to improve survival by preventing disease progression to decompensated cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma which is the cause of over 1 million deaths annually. The risk of disease progression is reduced when a sustained reduction of hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA to undetectable levels and suppression of HBV replication are obtained which can result in regression of liver fibrosis and may even reverse cirrhosis. However, even if HBsAg loss occurs, HBV is not completely eradicated by treatment, and long-term therapy is required in patients who are HBeAg(-) and HBeAg(+) who do not maintain off-treatment virological suppression and in those with advanced liver disease. The recently updated European Association of the Study of the Liver (EASL) clinical practical guidelines for HBV have clarified, first, how to treat HBV (interferon or the most potent oral drugs with optimal resistance profiles, i.e. entecavir and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, should be used as first-line monotherapies); second, who should be treated (CHB in patients with significant liver disease but also patients who are HBsAg(+) and are receiving immunosuppressive treatment, patients coinfected with HBV and human immunodeficiency virus, mothers who are HBsAg(+) with high viral load in late pregnancy associated with sero vaccination to reduce the risk of vertical transmission of HBV; and third, when to stop antiviral therapies. The aim of this review was to clarify how to treat HBV and who should be treated, as well as when to stop treatment. Although the answer to these questions is clear for pegylated interferon, it is more debatable for nucleos(t)ide analogues (anti-HBe seroconversion, HBsAg loss or anti-HBs seroconversion with undetectable HBV DNA are clear indications to discontinue treatment but sustained undetectable HBV DNA in patients who are anti-HBe(+) without significant fibrosis might be another indication).