Serum hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) kinetics in hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg)-negative chronic hepatitis B

Hepatology International, 05/11/2012

Hepatitis B (CHB) DNA and hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) were weakly correlated. Only patients with undetectable HBV DNA showed decline in HBsAg levels during follow–up. The greatest reduction in HBsAg levels occurred in patients with baseline HBsAg <100 IU/mL.


  • The authors compared HBsAg levels among HBeAg–negative CHB patients with persistently undetectable HBV DNA (≤20 IU/mL; Group A, n = 100), HBV DNA 20–2,000 IU/mL (Group B, n=100), and HBV DNA >2,000 IU/mL (Group C, n=100).
  • HBsAg and HBV DNA levels were measured at three consecutive time points during follow–up (median 21.4 months).


  • Median HBsAg levels were significantly lower in Group A than in Groups B and C at all time points (p<0.001). HBV DNA and HBsAg levels were weakly correlated (r=0.180 and 0.151 for Groups B and C, respectively).
  • Among patients with HBsAg <100 IU/mL, Group A patients had the greatest median serum HBsAg reduction (0.341 log IU/mL/year; Group B, 0.122 log IU/mL/year; Group C, 0.057 log IU/mL/year; p=0.002).
  • Among Group A patients with HBsAg <100 IU/mL, baseline HBsAg achieved an AUROC of 0.876 in predicting >1 log annual HBsAg reduction; 10–100 IU/mL HBsAg was the optimal level for prediction (sensitivity 90 %; specificity 74.6 %).
  • Serum HBsAg/HBV DNA ratios were significantly higher in Group B than in Groups A and C (p<0.05).

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