Chronic hepatitis B infection: long term comparison of children receiving interferon alpha and untreated controls.

Hanh D Vo

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46 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: To investigate the virological outcome of chronic hepatitis B (CH-B) in children who received interferon alpha (IFN) compared with no treatment. METHODS: Seventy-four children with CH-B (median age, 6.1 years; 44 boys) selected from a cohort of 158 cases were included and divided into two groups: IFN-treated (n = 37) and control (n = 37). The controls were matched with the treated children by baseline alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels, sex and age. The Kaplan-Meier method was performed to estimate the time to clearance of hepatitis B e antigen (HbeAg) and hepatitis B surface antigen (HbsAg). RESULTS: Mean duration of follow-up was comparable in two groups (5.2 +/- 3.8 years in treatment group versus 5.2 +/- 3.7 years in control group, NS). HBeAg and HBsAg loss occurred in 20 (54.1%) and three treated children versus 13 (35.1%) and one untreated children (NS), respectively. The 7-year cumulative HBeAg and HBsAg clearance rates were 47.5% and 8.9% after the first visit in the treatment group versus 33.5% and 4.0% in untreated children (NS), respectively. Elevated baseline ALT (two times upper limit of normal) had a significant effect on the long-term cumulative rate of HBeAg seroconversion in treated patients (P = 0.01) but not in the untreated group. CONCLUSIONS: These findings show that the overall long-term virological outcome does not differ significantly between IFN-treated and untreated children but that a significant benefit of treatment on the long term rate of HBeAg seroconversion is obtained in children with higher baseline ALT levels.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number15699686
Pages (from-to)141-145
JournalJournal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2005


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