Ha, M., Zhang, G., Diao, S. et al. Arch Virol (2012) 157: 285. doi:10.1007/s00705-011-1163-0
Adefovir is usually applied for therapy of chronic hepatitis B (CHB), but its effectiveness after cessation is still unknown. This study was to evaluate the effectiveness of adefovir treatment with strict cessation criteria in hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg)-negative patients and to identify potentially important factors. One hundred forty–five HBeAg-negative CHB patients who had received adefovir treatment for at least 24 months and for whom serum hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA had remained undetectable for at least 18 months before cessation were included. They were followed up monthly during the first four months and at 3-month or 6-month intervals thereafter. Patients with ≥104 copies of HBV DNA per mL were defined as relapsed. In total, 95 patients relapsed within the follow-up time, and more than 93% relapsed within 12 months after adefovir cessation. Cumulative relapse rates at months 6, 12, 24, 36, 48 and 60 were 53.8%, 61.4%, 65.5%, 65.5%, 65.5% and 65.5%, respectively. Age was the only factor associated with relapse, with lower relapse rates in younger patients shown by Cox regression analysis. HBsAg seroconversion occurred in 12 patients, and none of them relapsed during follow-up. The effectiveness of adefovir therapy does not persist in HBeAg-negative CHB patients, even when strict cessation criteria are applied, except for patients aged ≤ 25 years. HBsAg seroconversion is the ideal endpoint of adefovir treatment.