ABSTRACT: Many observations report a variable therapeutical response to interferon in children with chronic hepatitis B. In order to evaluate the efficiency of alpha-interferon treatment in the downregulation of viral replication and in the eradication of infection in these patients, we assessed HBeAg/HBeAb and HBsAg/HBsAb seroconversion (as well as with clinical outcome and the changes in the plasma level of aminotransferases) in 61 treated patients. The diagnosis was established by means of the usual clinical, biochemical and histopathological criteria. There was no possibility to viral DNA test and no control group was included. Patients were selected for interferon treatment who displayed at least a two fold rise in the plasma level of aminotransferases as compared to normal values, as well as necroinflammatory activity (score > or = 6) and positive HBeAg as a marker of viral replication. Treatment was carried out with alpha-2a interferon or alpha-2b interferon in a dose of 3 million U/m2/dose in 3 weekly doses for a period of 4-6 months. The monitoring interval was 6.6+/-3 years. HBeAg/HBeAb seroconversion was registered in 77.2% of the patients and mainly occurred during the first year of follow-up (50.9 %). HBsAg/HBsAb seroconversion was revealed in 1.75% of the cases. The therapeutical response was complete, incomplete, transient and absent in 1.75%, 64.9%, 10.5% and 22.8% of the patients, respectively. The results show that the eradication of HBV infection is insignificant, but the downregulation of viral replication and, subsequently the halt of further progression of hepatic lesions is obtained in a high percentage of cases, highlighting the efficiency of this treatment in children with chronic hepatitis B
Romanian journal of gastroenterology 12/2002; 11(4):285-90.