Incidence of Hepatic Decompensation After Nucleos(t)ide Analog Withdrawal: Results From a Large, International, Multiethnic Cohort of Patients With Chronic Hepatitis B (RETRACT-B Study)

Grishma Hirode, Bettina E. Hansen, RETRACT-B study group, Chien Hung Chen, Tung Hung Su, Grace Wong, Wai Kay Seto, Stijn Van Hees, Margarita Papatheodoridi, Sylvia M. Brakenhoff, Sabela Lens, Hannah S.J. Choi, Rong Nan Chien, Jordan J. Feld, Xavier Forns, Milan J. Sonneveld, George V. Papatheodoridis, Thomas Vanwolleghem, Man Fung Yuen, Henry L.Y. ChanJia Horng Kao, Yao Chun Hsu, Markus Cornberg, Wen Juei Jeng, Harry L.A. Janssen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: 

Despite improvements in the management of chronic hepatitis B (CHB), risk of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma remains. While hepatitis B surface antigen loss is the optimal end point, safe discontinuation of nucleos(t)ide analog (NA) therapy is controversial because of the possibility of severe or fatal reactivation flares.

METHODS: 

This is a multicenter cohort study of virally suppressed, end-of-therapy (EOT) hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg)-negative CHB patients who stopped NA therapy (n = 1,557). Survival analysis techniques were used to analyze off-therapy rates of hepatic decompensation and differences by patient characteristics. We also examined a subgroup of noncirrhotic patients with consolidation therapy of ≥12 months before cessation (n = 1,289). Hepatic decompensation was considered related to therapy cessation if diagnosed off therapy or within 6 months of starting retreatment. 

RESULTS: 

Among the total cohort (11.8% diagnosed with cirrhosis, 84.2% start-of-therapy HBeAg-negative), 20 developed hepatic decompensation after NA cessation; 10 events were among the subgroup. The cumulative incidence of hepatic decompensation at 60 months off therapy among the total cohort and subgroup was 1.8% and 1.1%, respectively. The hepatic decompensation rate was higher among patients with cirrhosis (hazard ratio [HR] 5.08, P < 0.001) and start-of-therapy HBeAg-positive patients (HR 5.23, P < 0.001). This association between start-of-therapy HBeAg status and hepatic decompensation remained significant even among the subgroup (HR 10.5, P < 0.001). 

DISCUSSION: 

Patients with cirrhosis and start-of-therapy HBeAg-positive patients should be carefully assessed before stopping NAs to prevent hepatic decompensation. Frequent monitoring of viral and host kinetics after cessation is crucial to determine patient outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1601-1608
Number of pages8
JournalThe American journal of gastroenterology
Volume118
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

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