Hepatology International

, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 304-307

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

The Roadmap concept: using early on-treatment virologic responses to optimize long-term outcomes for patients with chronic hepatitis B

  • Edward J. GaneAffiliated withNZ Liver Transplant Unit, Auckland City Hospital Email author 


Several large observational, longitudinal studies of the natural history of chronic hepatitis B (CHB) have demonstrated that high levels of hepatitis B virus (HBV) replication are associated with long-term risk of cirrhosis, decompensation, hepatocellular carcinoma, and liver-related mortality. The corollary is also true—profound and sustained suppression either spontaneously or during antiviral therapy will prevent disease progression and complications. Multiple analyses of various baseline factors and on-treatment responses have identified the absolute HBV DNA level after 24 weeks of therapy as the best predictor of long-term efficacy. Lower 24-week serum HBV DNA levels after lamivudine, telbivudine, or entecavir are associated with higher rates of maintained HBV DNA nondetectability, ALT normalization, HBeAg seroconversion, and lack of resistance. Patients with undetectable serum HBV DNA levels after 24 weeks have the best long-term outcomes while those with levels remaining above 10,000 copies per ml are unlikely to benefit from long-term therapy with that particular agent and either the addition or switch to another antiviral agent with increased potency but without cross resistance could be considered at this time point. In the future, improved on-treatment monitoring should facilitate treatment strategies to optimize long-term outcomes among patients receiving oral antiviral therapy for CHB.


Chronic hepatitis B Roadmap concept On-treatment response PCR nondetectability Genetic barrier to resistance