Among patients with hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection who are not receiving antiviral therapy, surface antigen titers and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels may independently predict spontaneous seroconversion, based on a recent case-control study.
, reported principal author Sammy Saab, MD, of the University of California, Los Angeles, and colleagues.
While the predictive value of HBsAg titers has been demonstrated for patients undergoing antiviral therapy, data are limited for spontaneous seroconversion, the investigators wrote in.
To learn more about this scenario, the investigators reviewed medical records from 2,126 patients who visited a large community practice in the Los Angeles area between 2014 and 2019. Cases were defined by HBV infection with seroconversion, whereas matched controls were defined by HBV without seroconversion. A variety of demographic and clinical data were also evaluated, including age, ethnicity, sex, HBsAg titer, ALT, HBV DNA, total cholesterol, presence of fatty liver, and other factors.
The investigators identified 167 patients with HBV who were not on antiviral therapy. Of these, 14 underwent seroconversion, and were matched with 70 patients who did not seroconvert. All patients were of Asian descent, most were women, and none had cirrhosis.
Across all demographic and clinical parameters, the two factors that significantly differed between cases and controls were ALT and HBsAg titer. The mean ALT for patients who seroconverted was 17.6 U/L, versus 25.1 U/L in those who did not undergo seroconversion (P less than .01). Similarly, mean titer was lower in the seroconversion group (459.8 vs. 782.0 IU/mL; P = .01).
The investigators noted that seroconversion was more common among patients with an HBsAg titer level less than 1,000 IU/mL. Specifically, 79% of patients who seroconverted had a titer less than 1,000 IU/mL, compared with just 16% of patients who did not seroconvert (P = .001).
HBV DNA levels were not predictive of seroconversion, the investigators noted, which aligns with most, but not all, previous research.
The investigators reported no disclosures.
SOURCE: Wu CF et al. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2020 Feb 11.