Lamivudine and alpha-interferon in combination long term for precore mutant chronic hepatitis B

Isabella Tatulli, Ruggiero Francavilla, Giovanni Luca Rizzo, Vincenzo Vinciguerra, Enzo Ierardi, Annacinzia Amoruso, Carmine Panella, Antonio Francavilla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background/Aims: Alpha-interferon (α-IFN) and lamivudine are the two licensed drugs for patients with chronic hepatitis B, however, their efficacy in precore mutant chronic hepatitis B is limited. The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy of 1 year α-IFN-lamivudine combination therapy for anti-HBe/hepatitis B virus-(HBV)-DNA positive patients. Methods: Between 1997 and 1999, 29 consecutive anti-HBe/HBV-DNA positive patients entered this prospective pilot study. Patients received 100 mg lamivudine orally daily and α-IFN 6 million units (MU) three times weekly for 52 weeks. All patients were followed-up for 12 months after stopping therapy. Primary end points were loss of serum HBV-DNA and alanine transaminase normalization at week 52. Results: Overall, the end-treatment biochemical and virological response was 93% while the sustained response at week 104 was 14%. HBV-DNA negative patients did not experience a viral breakthrough during treatment; no tyrosine-methionine-aspartate-aspartate amino acid motif of HBV polymerase (YMDD) variant emerged. At week 52, 46% of patients with paired liver biopsies slides available, showed an histological improvement (histological activity index ≥2). Conclusions: Combination of lamivudine and interferon for I year is followed by high end-treatment virological and biochemical response rates, by improvement of liver histology and by the prevention of the emergence of YMDD mutation; however, the sustained response rate remains low.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)805-810
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Hepatology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Anti-HBe positive chronic hepatitis B
  • Antiviral therapy
  • Combination therapy
  • Lamivudine-resistant mutants
  • Nucleoside analogue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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