Evaluation of alanine transaminase and hepatitis B virus DNA to predict liver cirrhosis in hepatitis B e antigen-negative chronic hepatitis B using transient elastography

2008 American Journal of Gastroenterology 103, 12 (3071-3081)

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: We aimed to investigate the relationship between serum hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA and alanine transaminase (ALT) levels and the risk of cirrhosis in a large cohort of hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg)-negative chronic hepatitis B (CHB) patients based on transient elastography. METHODS: We prospectively studied treatment-naive HBeAg-negative patients recruited based on territory-wide referrals. We defined possible cirrhosis and probable cirrhosis with two different cutoffs according to the results from a subgroup of patients with histologic proof. RESULTS: One thousand one hundred ninety-seven patients with successful liver stiffness measurement (LSM) were studied. In the subgroup of 100 patients with liver biopsy, LSM of > or =8.4 kiloPascal (kPa) had a sensitivity of 90% and LSM of > or =13.4 kPa had a specificity of 94% for liver cirrhosis. Possible and probable cirrhosis were defined as a LSM value > or =8.4 kPa and > or =13.4 kPa, and were present in 31% and 11% of the patients, respectively. The risk of cirrhosis was significantly increased when ALT level was >0.5x upper limit of normal (ULN) or serum HBV DNA >4 log(10) copies/mL. Among patients who have ALT < or =0.5 x ULN and HBV DNA < or =4 log(10) copies/mL, 10% (26/264) and 3% (7/264) had possible and probable cirrhosis respectively, which were significantly lower when compared with 34% (329/887, P < 0.001) and 14% (125/887, P < 0.001) of those who had higher ALT and HBV DNA levels. CONCLUSIONS: Liver cirrhosis was common among HBeAg-negative CHB patients. Patients with ALT levels >0.5 x ULN and/or serum HBV DNA >4 log(10) copies/mL have higher risk of cirrhosis and need further assessment for antiviral therapy.

Pubmed : 19086958