Entecavir Treatment of Chronic Hepatitis D

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Background. Hepatitis D virus (HDV) requires hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) to propagate infection and cause disease. Entecavir is a nucleoside analog with potent antiviral efficacy, and in the woodchuck animal model it also decreased hepatitis B virus (HBV) cccDNA and woodchuck surface antigen. The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy of entecavir in chronic hepatitis D (CHD).Methods. This single-center study was conducted in patients with compensated liver disease. All patients had to have detectable hepatitis HDV RNA and elevated levels of alanine aminotransferase (ALT). Entecavir was given at a dosage of 1 mg/d for 1 year. The primary end point was achievement of undetectable HDV RNA at the end of treatment.Results. Thirteen consecutive patients were assessed. All patients had detectable HDV RNA, and 8 had detectable HBV DNA at baseline. At the end of treatment, HBV DNA became undetectable in all patients (P = .001). No significant decline in HDV RNA, ALT, or quantitative HBsAg levels was observed. The primary end point of undetectable HDV RNA at the end of treatment was achieved in 3 patients who had significantly lower baseline HDV RNA levels than nonresponders (2.99 log10 copies/mL ± .70 vs 4.68 ± .97; P = .0185). In all 3 patients, ALT levels were also normal at the end of treatment.Conclusions. One year of entecavir treatment is ineffective in CHD. Any generalized beneficial effect of nucleoside/nucleotide analog treatment may necessitate prolonged treatment. Patients with CHD with HBV dominance, which is likely to occur in the later phases of CHD, may be a reasonable patient cohort in which to target nucleoside/nucleotide analog therapy.

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