NIH consensus development statement on management of hepatitis B

E. A. Belongia, J. Costa, I. F. Gareen, J. L. Grem, J. M. Inadomi, E. R. Kern, J. A. McHugh, G. M. Petersen, M. F. Rein, M. F. Sorrell, D. B. Strader, H. T. Trotter

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60 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To provide health care providers, patients, and the general public with a responsible assessment of currently available data on the management of hepatitis B.

PARTICIPANTS: A non-DHHS, nonadvocate 12-member panel representing the fields of hepatology and liver transplantation, gastroenterology, public health and epidemiology, infectious diseases, pathology, oncology, family practice, internal medicine, and a public representative. In addition, 22 experts from pertinent fields presented data to the panel and conference audience.

EVIDENCE: Presentations by experts and a systematic review of the literature prepared by the Minnesota Evidence-based Practice Center, through the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Scientific evidence was given precedence over anecdotal experience.

CONFERENCE PROCESS: The panel drafted its statement based on scientific evidence presented in open forum and on published scientific literature. The draft statement was presented on the final day of the conference and circulated to the audience for comment. The panel released a revised statement later that day at This statement is an independent report of the panel and is not a policy statement of the NIH or the Federal Government.

CONCLUSIONS: The most important predictors of cirrhosis or hepatocellular carcinoma in persons who have chronic HBV are persistently elevated HBV DNA and ALT levels in blood. Other risk factors include HBV genotype C infection, male sex, older age, family history of hepatocellular carcinoma, and co-infection with HCV or HIV. The major goals of anti-HBV therapy are to prevent the development of progressive disease, specifically cirrhosis and liver failure, as well as hepatocellular carcinoma development and subsequent death. To date, no RCTs of anti-HBV therapies have demonstrated a beneficial impact on overall mortality, liver-specific mortality, or development of hepatocellular carcinoma. Most published reports of hepatitis therapy use changes in short-term virologic, biochemical, and histologic parameters to infer likelihood of long-term benefit. Approved therapies are associated with improvements in intermediate biomarkers, including HBV DNA, HBeAg loss or seroconversion, decreases in ALT levels, and improvement in liver histology (Table). Although various monitoring practices have been recommended, no clear evidence exists for an optimal approach. The most important research needs include representative prospective cohort studies to define the natural history of the disease and large RCTs of monotherapy and combined therapies, including placebo-controlled trials, that measure the effects on clinical health outcomes. Table. Criteria Useful in Determining for Whom Therapy is Indicated: Patients for whom therapy is indicated: Patients who have acute liver failure, cirrhosis and clinical complications, cirrhosis or advanced fibrosis and HBV DNA in serum, or reactivation of chronic HBV after chemotherapy or immunosuppression; Infants born to women who are HBsAg-positive (immunoglobulin and vaccination). Patients for whom therapy may be indicated: Patients in the immune-active phase who do not have advanced fibrosis or cirrhosis. Patients for whom immediate therapy is not routinely indicated: Patients with chronic hepatitis B in the immune-tolerant phase (with high levels of serum HBV DNA but normal serum ALT levels or little activity on liver biopsy); Patients in the inactive carrier or low replicative phase (with low levels of or no detectable HBV DNA in serum and normal serum ALT levels); Patients who have latent HBV infection (HBV DNA without HBsAg). We recommend routine screening for hepatitis B of newly arrived immigrants to the United States from countries where the HBV prevalence rate is greater than 2%. Screening will facilitate the provision of medical and public health services for infected patients and their families and provide public health data on the burden of disease in immigrant populations. The screening test should not be used to prohibit immigration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-29
Number of pages29
JournalNIH consensus and state-of-the-science statements
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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