Current therapeutic approaches in childhood chronic hepatitis B infection: a multicenter study.

Department of Pediatrics, Dicle University Medical Faculty, Diyarbakir, Turkey.
Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology (Impact Factor: 3.63). 02/2004; 19(2):127-33. DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-1746.2004.03209.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The aim of the present study was to compare the therapeutic efficacy of three different regimens in childhood chronic hepatitis B (CHB) infection.
A total of 182 children with CHB infection were prospectively allocated to three random groups. Sixty-two patients in the first group received high-dose interferon (IFN)-alpha 2b (10 MU/m2) thrice/weekly alone for 6 months. In the second (n = 60) and third groups (n = 60), IFN-alpha was used for 6 months (5 MU/m2) thrice/weekly in combination with lamivudine (LAM) (4 mg/kg, maximum 100 mg/day) for 12 months. Lamivudine was started simultaneously with IFN in the second group, while it was started 2 months prior to IFN injections in the third group.
The initial mean alanine aminotransferase (ALT) values for the first, second and third groups were 109 +/- 93 IU/L, 101 +/- 64 IU/L and 92 +/- 42 IU/L, respectively (P > 0.05). At the end of the therapy, ALT values decreased to 82 +/- 111 IU/L, 38 +/- 41 IU/L and 29 +/- 16 IU/L in groups 1, 2 and 3, respectively. The mean ALT value of the first group was significantly different to the second and third groups (P = 0.046 and P = 0.002, respectively) at the end of the therapy and these differences were found to be sustained after 18 months. However, results in the second and third groups were similar (P > 0.05). There were no significant differences in HBeAg clearance and anti-HBe seroconversion at the initial stage, 12 months and 18 months between the three groups (P > 0.05). Hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA clearance in the first group was different from the second and third groups, while the second and third groups had similar HBV DNA clearance ratios at 12 and 18 months. No significant difference was found in the complete response (normalization of ALT, clearance of HBV DNA and seroconversion of anti HBe) ratios of all groups (at 12 months: 28.8, 45.5, 35.8% and at 18 months 33.3, 49 and 34% in groups 1, 2 and 3, respectively, P > 0.05).
Although the ALT normalization and HBV DNA clearance ratios of IFN plus LAM combination groups were better than the high-dose IFN-alpha monotherapy group, no significant difference was found in the complete response ratios of all three groups.