Phase IV randomized clinical study: Peginterferon alfa-2a with adefovir or entecavir pre-therapy for HBeAg-positive chronic hepatitis B

Chao Wei Hsu, Wei Wen Su, Chuan Mo Lee, Cheng Yuan Peng, Wan Long Chuang, Jia Horng Kao, Heng Cheng Chu, Yi Hsiang Huang, Rong Nan Chien, Yun Fan Liaw

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17 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Efficacy of sequential therapy with nucleos(t)ide analogues and interferons versus monotherapy in patients with hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg)-positive chronic hepatitis B (CHB) remains unexplored. We aimed to assess efficacy and safety of sequential therapy with adefovir (ADV) or entecavir (ETV) followed by peginterferon (PEG-IFN) alfa-2a in Taiwanese patients with HBeAg-positive. Methods: This randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial was conducted at nine sites in Taiwan from April 2010 to October 2013. Patients (N = 280) were randomized 1:1:1 to receive placebo, ETV or ADV alone for four weeks, combined with PEG-IFN alfa-2a for two weeks, then PEG-IFN alfa-2a alone for 46 weeks. The primary efficacy end point was HBeAg seroconversion at 48 weeks post-treatment. Results: No significant differences were observed among groups for HBeAg seroconversion (PEG-IFN alfa-2a+placebo, 36.3%; PEG-IFN alfa-2a+ETV, 29.5%; and PEG-IFN alfa-2a+ADV, 27.4%), HBeAg loss (37.4%, 32.2%, and 28.6%, respectively) or change in hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) levels from baseline (-0.56 IU/mL, -0.60 IU/mL, and -0.41 IU/mL, respectively). However, hepatitis B virus DNA levels were higher with PEG-IFN alfa-2a+placebo than PEG-IFN alfa+ETV at week 64 (p = 0.0412), 76 (p = 0.0311), and 88 (p = 0.0113), and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) normalization rate was higher with PEG-IFN alfa-2a+placebo than PEG-IFN alfa-2a+ADV (p = 0.0283) or PEG-IFN alfa-2a+ETV (p = 0.0369) at week 88. Sub-analysis of results revealed an association between on-treatment HBsAg and ALT levels and efficacy 48 weeks post-treatment. Safety was comparable among treatment groups. Conclusion: Pre-therapy with ADV or ETV followed by PEG-IFN alfa-2a is not superior to PEG-IFN alfa-2a monotherapy in Taiwanese patients with HBeAg-positive CHB. Clinical trial ID: NCT: 00922207.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)588-597
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Formosan Medical Association
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018


  • Adefovir
  • Chronic hepatitis B
  • Entecavir
  • Hepatitis B e antigen
  • Peginterferon alfa-2a

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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