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A Journal on Gastroenterology, Nutrition and Dietetics

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Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica 2008 March;54(1):19-30

language: English

Active antiviral therapy for chronic hepatitis B and hepatocellular carcinoma

Hann H. W. L.

Liver Disease Prevention Center Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology Jefferson Medical College Thomas Jefferson University Hospital Philadelphia, PA, USA


The ultimate goal of treatment for chronic hepatitis B (CHB) is to prevent hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). During the last decade, great strides have been made in the treatment of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections. Six highly effective anti-HBV agents are currently available and more agents are on the horizon. Prospective and retrospective studies of large numbers of CHB patients with advanced liver disease, including cirrhosis, have demonstrated that the treatment with lamivudine not only delays the disease progression but also reduces the incidence of HCC. In a large prospective study of 3 653 HBV carriers in Taiwan, 164 persons developed HCC in a 12-year follow-up period; an extensive analysis of their condition led to the conclusion that the most important risk factor for HCC is an increased serum level of HBV DNA >10 000 copies/mL regardless of the HBeAg status, alanine aminotransferase levels or presence of cirrhosis. The incidence of HCC correlated with serum HBV DNA level at entry in a dose-response relationship. These pivotal studies re-emphasize the need for an active anti-HBV therapy for CHB patients with viral replication as the ultimate prevention and/or delay for the development of HCC.

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