The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of entecavir monotherapy in nucleos(t)ide-naive chronic hepatitis B patients and to analyse the influence of the comorbidity burden on therapy outcome.
We retrospectively analysed data from 237 nucleos(t)ide-naive chronic hepatitis B white patients treated with entecavir (0.5 mg/day) at 23 Spanish centres. For the efficacy and safety analyses, patients were grouped according to their baseline comorbidities.
The mean age of the cohort was 43 years (range: 19–82 years); 73% were male, 83% were white, and 33% were hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) positive. At baseline, the median hepatitis B virus DNA level was 6.20 log10 IU/ml. Of the patients, 18% had cirrhosis, 9.7% had diabetes, 16.3% had hypertension, and 15.7% had obesity; 13.4% of patients had more than one comorbid condition. Virological and biochemical responses at month 36 were obtained independently of the patients’ baseline comorbid condition. Of 10 HBeAg-positive patients who discontinued treatment after HBeAg seroconversion, those who had not also cleared HBsAg (six) experienced virological recurrence in a median 5.6 months. There were no treatment discontinuations due to adverse events. Three patients were diagnosed with hepatocellular carcinoma at months 12, 30 and 54, and six experienced hepatic decompensation during follow-up. The median serum creatinine levels did not increase after 36 months of treatment, even in patients with comorbidities.
Entecavir is safe, well tolerated, and highly effective, even in patients with comorbid condition(s). Discontinuation of treatment in patients who have not been cleared of HBsAg may lead to virological recurrence.