Poor clinical and virological outcome of nucleos(t)ide analogue monotherapy in HBV/HDV co-infected patients


Co-infection of Hepatitis B (HBV) and Delta viruses (HDV) represent the most severe form of viral hepatitis. While treatment with pegylated Interferon alpha (PEG-IFNα) is well established, therapy with nucleoside or nucleotide analogues (NA) has been a matter of debate. We aimed to investigate the role of NA treatment in a well-defined single centre cohort.In a retrospective approach, we observed 53 HDV RNA positive and/or anti-HDV-positive patients recruited at a German referral centre between 2000 and 2019. Patients were followed for at least 3 months (mean time of follow up: 4.6 years; range: 0.2-14.1 years). Patients who had liver transplantation or hepatocellular carcinoma at the time of presentation were excluded. 43% (n = 23) were treated with NA, 43% (n = 23) received IFNα-based therapies and 13% (n = 7) were untreated.Liver cirrhosis was already present in 53% (28/53) of patients at first presentation. During follow-up, liver-related endpoints developed in 44% of all patients (n = 23). NA-treatment was associated with a significantly worse clinical outcome (P = .01; odds ratio [OR] = 4.92; CI = 1.51-16.01) compared to both, untreated (P = .38; OR = 0.46; CI = 0.80-2.61) and IFNα-based-treated patients (P = .04; OR = 0.29; CI = 0.89-0.94) in univariate logistic regression analysis. HBsAg levels declined by more than 50% during NA-based therapy in only 7 cases (7/23; mean time: 3.6 years; range: 0.8-8.5 years) and during IFNα-based therapy in 14 cases (14/23; mean time: 2.8 years, range 0.7-8.5 years). HDV RNA became undetectable during follow up in 30% of patients receiving NA alone (7/23; mean time: 5.0 years; range: 0.6-13.5 years), in 35% of patients receiving IFNα-based therapy (8/23; mean time: 2.9 years, range: 0.3-7.6 years).The effect of NA in patients with HBV/HDV co-infection is limited. Treatment with NA was associated with a higher likelihood of clinical disease progression. Interferon alpha therapy was beneficial in reducing liver complications and improves long-term outcome.


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