Chinese Medical Journal (Jan 2017)

Negative Correlation of Serum Hepatitis B Surface Antigen and Hepatitis B e Antigen Levels with the Severity of Liver Inflammation in Treatment-naïve Patients with Chronic Hepatitis B Virus Infection

  • Lu Zhang,
  • Ming-Hui Li,
  • Wei-Hua Cao,
  • Tian-Lin Qi,
  • Yao Lu,
  • Shu-Ling Wu,
  • Hong-Xiao Hao,
  • Ge Shen,
  • Ru-Yu Liu,
  • Lei-Ping Hu,
  • Min Chang,
  • Wen-Hao Hua,
  • Shu-Jing Song,
  • Gang Wan,
  • Yao Xie

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 130, no. 22
pp. 2697 – 2702


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Background: Estimating the grades of liver inflammation is critical in the determination of antiviral therapy in patients chronically infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV). The aim of this study was to investigate the correlation of serum levels of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) with the liver inflammation grades in treatment-naïve patients with chronic HBV infection. Methods: We retrospectively enrolled 584 treatment-naïve HBeAg-positive patients who underwent liver biopsy in Ditan Hospital from January 2008 to January 2016. Based on the severity of liver inflammation, the patients were divided into minimal, mild, and moderate groups. SPSS software was used for statistical analysis of all relevant data. Results: The liver histological examinations showed that 324, 194, and 66 patients had minimal, mild, and moderate liver inflammation, respectively. The median age of the three groups was 30, 33, and 38 years, respectively (Χ2 = 26.00, P < 0.001). The median HBsAg levels in minimal, mild, and moderate inflammation groups were 4.40, 4.16, and 3.67 log U/ml, respectively, and the median HBeAg levels in the three groups were 3.12, 2.99, and 1.86 log sample/cutoff, respectively; both antigens tended to decrease as the grade of inflammation increased (Χ2 = 99.68 and Χ2 = 99.23, respectively; both P < 0.001). The cutoff values of receiver operating characteristic curve in the age, HBsAg and HBeAg levels were 36 years, 4.31 log U/ml, and 2.86 log S/CO, respectively, l to distinguish minimal grade and other grades of treatment-naïve HBeAg-positive patients with chronic HBV infection. Conclusions: Serum HBsAg and HBeAg quantitation might gradually decrease with aggravated liver inflammation and the corresponding cutoff values might help us to distinguish minimal grades and other grades and detect those who do not need antiviral therapy in treatment-naïve HBeAg-positive patients with chronic HBV infection.