Despite the introduction of new nucleos(t)ide analogues in recent years, peginterferon is still recommended as a potential first-line treatment option by current practice guidelines for the management of chronic hepatitis B. Peginterferon offers the advantage of higher sustained off-treatment response rates compared to nucleos(t)ide analogues because of its immunomodulatory effects. Sustained transition to the inactive hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) carrier state can be achieved in about 30% of hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg)–positive patients and 20% of HBeAg-negative patients. Recent studies have focused on identification of pretreatment and on-treatment factors that allow the selection of patients who are likely to achieve a sustained response to peginterferon therapy in order to avoid the side-effects and costs associated with unnecessary treatment. Future studies need to address whether specific virologic benchmarks can guide individualized decisions concerning therapy continuation and whether peginterferon combined with new potent nucleos(t)ide analogues improves treatment outcomes.
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- The Role of Interferon in Hepatitis B Therapy
Harry L. A. Janssen
- Current Science Inc.
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