Sustained suppression of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) production after interferon (IFN) treatment has not been reported for children with genotype C chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, which is prevalent in Asia. Among children with hepatitis B envelope antigen-positive genotype C chronic HBV infection, we compared the efficacy of combination therapy with nucleotide analogues and IFN-α in 11 children with 12 historical cases treated with IFN monotherapy.Methods:
The combination of lamivudine and conventional IFN-α was introduced for the first three patients; the other eight patients were treated with entecavir and pegylated IFN.Results:
Demographic factors as well as baseline HBsAg titers and HBV-DNA levels were similar between the two groups. In the combination therapy group, viral loads were suppressed in 9/11 to below 4.0 log copies/mL both at the end of the therapy (EOT) and at 6 months after EOT. In contrast, in the IFN monotherapy group, suppression of viral loads was observed in 2/12 and 3/12 at EOT and at 6 months after EOT, respectively. In the combination therapy group, HBsAg titers dropped from 4.03 at pretreatment to 2.91 log IU/mL at 6 months after EOT with 4/11 showing a drop to below 1000 IU/mL (one patient achieved HBsAg clearance). In contrast, the amount of HBsAg did not change during the corresponding periods in the IFN monotherapy group.Conclusions:
Our preliminary results suggest that combination therapy might be effective in the suppression of HBsAg production as well as HBV-DNA production for children with genotype C chronic HBV infection.