Interferon-alpha-2a and zinc combination therapy in cildren with chronic hepatitis B infection.
Kansu Tanca, Aydan
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Zinc has been reported to enhance the response to interferon (IFN) or PEG-IFN plus ribavirin therapy, improve liver function, and ameliorate hematologic side effects in patients with chronic hepatitis C. However, the role of zinc supplementation during IFN therapy in chronic hepatitis B infection (CHB) remains unclear. We therefore aimed to report the results of zinc and IFN-alpha-2a therapy in children with CHB. Twenty-two naive, HBeAg-positive children (mean age 10.4±4.4 years) received IFN-!2a (9 MU/m2 sc) for 6 months plus peroral zinc (7.5 mg/day for <10 years and 10 mg/day for >10 years) for 12 months. Serum zinc, alanine aminotransferase (ALT), complete blood count, hepatitis B virus DNA (HBV DNA), and serological markers were measured. Histological (HR) and sustained response (SR) were evaluated at 6 months after completion of therapy. Normalization of ALT, HBeAg seroconversion, and HBV DNA<10,000 copies/ml were considered as SR. HR was defined as decrease in Knodell histological activity index (HAI) score by at least 2 points compared to baseline. End of therapy ALT level and log HBV DNA were significantly lower than pretherapy levels (p=0.001 and p=0.001, respectively), while zinc level was not different. Portal inflammation score significantly decreased after therapy (p=0.043), however, total HAI and other HAI components were not different. SR and HR were 25% and 52.9%. In conclusion as a first study investigating the effect of zinc and IFN combination therapy in children with CHB, SR and HR rates were not better than previously reported monotherapy or combination therapies.