Use of HBV RNA and to predict change in serological status and disease activity in CHB

Marc G. Ghany, Wendy C. King, Amanda S. Hinerman, Anna S.F. Lok, Mauricio Lisker-Melman, Raymond T. Chung, Norah Terrault, Harry L.A. Janssen, Mandana Khalili, William M. Lee, Daryl T.Y. Lau, Gavin A. Cloherty, Richard K. Sterling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background and Aims: Predicting changes in disease activity and serological endpoints is necessary for the management of patients with chronic hepatitis B (CHB). We examined whether HBV RNA and hepatitis B core-related antigen (HBcrAg), two specialized virological markers proposed to reflect the activity of covalently closed circular DNA, may improve the ability to predict not sustained inactive carrier phase, spontaneous alanine aminotransferase (ALT) flare, HBeAg loss, and HBsAg loss. Approach and Results: Among eligible participants enrolled in the North American Hepatitis B Research Network Adult Cohort Study, we evaluated demographic, clinical, and virologic characteristics, including HBV RNA and HBcrAg, to predict not sustained inactive carrier phase, ALT flare, HBeAg loss, and HBsAg loss through a series of Cox proportional hazard or logistic regression models, controlling for antiviral therapy use. Among the study population, 54/103 participants experienced not sustained inactive carrier phase, 41/1006 had a spontaneous ALT flare, 83/250 lost HBeAg, and 54/1127 lost HBsAg. HBV RNA or HBcrAg were predictive of all 4 events. However, their addition to models of the readily available host (age, sex, race/ethnicity), clinical (ALT, use of antiviral therapy), and viral factors (HBV DNA), which had acceptable-excellent accuracy (e.g., AUC = 0.72 for ALT flare, 0.92 for HBeAg loss, and 0.91 for HBsAg loss), provided only small improvements in predictive ability. Conclusion: Given the high predictive ability of readily available markers, HBcrAg and HBV RNA have a limited role in improving the prediction of key serologic and clinical events in patients with CHB.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1542-1557
Number of pages16
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2023


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