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Baseline serum HBV RNA is associated with the risk of hepatitis flare after stopping nucleoside analog therapy in HBeAg-negative participants

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posted on 2023-11-22, 04:59 authored by Alexander J Thompson, Kathy Jackson, Sara Bonanzinga, Sam AL Hall, Simon Hume, Gareth S Burns, Vijaya SundararajanVijaya Sundararajan, Dilip Ratnam, Miriam T Levy, John Lubel, Amanda J Nicoll, Simone I Strasser, William Sievert, Paul V Desmond, Meng C Ngu, Marie Sinclair, Christopher Meredith, Gail Matthews, Peter A Revill, Margaret Littlejohn, D Scott Bowden, Jesse A Canchola, Jason Torres, Philip Siew, Jasmin Lau, Benjamin La Brot, Alison Kuchta, Kumar Visvanathan
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: HBV RNA in peripheral blood reflects HBV cccDNA transcriptional activity and may predict clinical outcomes. The prospective Melbourne HBV-STOP trial studied nucleot(s)ide analog discontinuation in HBeAg-negative non-cirrhotic participants with long-term virological suppression. Ninety-six weeks after stopping treatment, the proportion of participants with virological relapse (HBV DNA > 2000 IU/mL), biochemical relapse (ALT > 2 × ULN and HBV DNA > 2000 IU/mL), or hepatitis flare (ALT > 5 × ULN and HBV DNA > 2000 IU/mL) was 89%, 58%, and 38%, respectively. We evaluated the ability of serum HBV RNA levels to predict these outcomes. APPROACH RESULTS: HBV RNA levels were measured using the Roche cobas 6800/8800 HBV RNA Investigational Assay. Sixty-five participants had baseline and longitudinal off-treatment specimens available for RNA testing. HBV RNA was detectable at baseline in 25% of participants and was associated with a higher risk of biochemical relapse (81% vs. 51%, p value 0.04) and hepatitis flare (63% vs. 31%, p value 0.04). Participants who had undetectable serum HBV RNA as well as HBsAg ≤ 100 IU/mL at baseline were less likely to experience virological relapse (4 of 9, 44%) than participants with detectable HBV RNA and HBsAg level > 100 IU/mL (15/15, 100%; p value 0.0009). Off-treatment levels of HBV RNA were correlated with HBV DNA and were associated with the risk of hepatitis flare. CONCLUSIONS: Serum HBV RNA may be a useful biomarker for guiding clinical decision-making before stopping nucleot(s)ide analog therapy. Baseline HBV RNA and HBsAg levels are associated with the risk of clinical relapse, hepatitis flare, and disease remission off-treatment.


The clinical study was supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia Project Grant 1066536. Additional support for data extraction was provided by Roche Molecular Systems, Inc. Alexander Thompson received funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (MRFF Practitioner Fellowship 1142976). cobas (R) 6800/8800 HBV RNA Investigational Assay reagents were provided by Roche Molecular Systems, Inc.


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Hepatology Communications





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Wolters Kluwer Health



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Copyright © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. on behalf of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal.

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