Prior studies have shown that precore mutations abolish and basal core promoter (BCP) mutations down-regulate hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) production. Thus, the presence of precore and BCP mutations in HBeAg-positive patients indicates an infection with a mixed viral population of wild-type and precore and/or BCP mutant hepatitis B virus (HBV). To date, there has been limited study of the prevalence and clinical significance of precore and BCP mutations in patients with HBeAg-positive chronic hepatitis B.To determine the prevalence, predictors and clinical characteristics of mixed wild-type and precore/BCP HBV infection, through a cross-sectional study, in a US cohort of patients with chronic hepatitis B.We conducted a retrospective study of 828 chronic hepatitis B patients with HBV genotype and mutation panel testing seen at three US gastroenterology and liver clinics from June 2005 to September 2009.A majority of our patients (92.3%) were either Vietnamese or Chinese American. In the HBeAg-positive cohort, 17% of patients had precore mutations only, 28% had BCP mutations only and 5% had both BCP and precore mutations. On multivariate analyses, HBV genotype C, increasing age, lower HBV DNA level and an ALT quotient >2 were independent predictors for the presence of precore and/or BCP mutations.The current distinction and management recommendations for HBeAg-positive vs. HBeAg-negative patients with chronic hepatitis B should be reassessed. Additional biomarkers and treatment endpoints should be studied for their usefulness in predicting continued viral suppression after treatment discontinuation.
View details for DOI 10.1111/apt.12193
View details for Web of Science ID 000313891900011
View details for PubMedID 23278246