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Serum hepatitis B surface antigen titer and transient elastography in screening for insignificant fibrosis in HBeAg-positive chronic hepatitis B patients

Authors Liang L, zhu X, Yan L, Du L, Liu C, Chen L, Liao J, Tang H

Received 5 September 2014

Accepted for publication 5 November 2014

Published 13 February 2015 Volume 2015:11 Pages 229—235


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Garry Walsh

Ling-Bo Liang, Xia Zhu, Li-Bo Yan, Ling-Yao Du, Cong Liu, Li-Yu Chen, Juan Liao, Hong Tang

Center of Infectious Disease, West China Hospital, West China School of Medicine, and State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy, Sichuan University, Chengdu, People’s Republic of China

Objective: To explore the predictive value of serum hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) titer and transient elastography in screening for insignificant fibrosis in hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg)-positive chronic hepatitis B patients.
Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study of eligible patients treated from March 2012 to May 2013 at the West China Hospital of Sichuan University. Eligible patients underwent liver transient elastography and liver biopsy. We assessed the serum HBsAg level, serum hepatitis B virus (HBV) deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) level, HBV genotypes, liver stiffness measurement (LSM) values by transient elastography, and histological fibrosis staging by METAVIR classification.
Results: A total of 129 consecutive patients were recruited. The LSM value (P<0.001, odds ratio 14.67, 95% CI 0.158–0.551) and log10HBsAg (P=0.045, odds ratio 4.03, 95% CI 0.136–0.976) correlated with a liver fibrosis score <F2, independently. Inverse correlations were found between log10HBsAg and the LSM value (r=-576, P<0.001) and fibrosis staging (r=-374, P<0.001). Patients with a fibrosis score <F2 had a significantly higher log10HBsAg than patients with a fibrosis score ≥F2 among those with an LSM value under 9.4 kPa (4.6±0.7 vs 4.3±0.5, P=0.006). The HBsAg titer achieved an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.758 (P<0.001, 95% CI 0.631–0.884) in predicting a fibrosis score <F2, with a cut-off value of 10,400 IU/mL, a positive predictive value of 73%, and a negative predictive value of 79%.
Conclusion: In HBeAg-positive patients with an alanine aminotransferase level <2× the upper limit of normal, high serum HBsAg levels can predict a fibrosis score <F2, and a lower HBsAg titer could be supportive of early fibrosis in patients with an LSM value under 9.4 kPa.
Keywords: hepatitis B e antigen, HBsAg, HBV

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