HBV pol/S Gene Mutations in Chronic Hepatitis B Patients Receiving Nucleoside/Nucleotide Analogues Treatment


MIKROBIYOLOJI BULTENI, vol.53, no.2, pp.144-155, 2019 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 53 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.5578/mb.67816
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.144-155
  • Kocaeli University Affiliated: Yes


Chronic hepatitis B (CHB) is an important public health problem affecting over 240 million people all around the world. The aim of the treatment in chronic hepatitis B is to prevent progression to cirrhosis and liver cancer. Interferons (standard and peginterferon) (Peg-IFN) and nucleoside/nucleotide analogues (NAs) are widely used in the treatment of CHB. The use of long-term therapy can however result in drug resistant mutations, which can lead to treatment failure. In patients with chronic hepatitis B, in addition to primary drug resistance mutations in the pol gene, compensatory mutations were reported. The genom of HBV polymerase (pol) gene overlaps with the envelope (S) gene. Nucleoside/nucleotide analogue (NA) resistance mutations in the pol gene of HBV, either from selection of primary or secondary resistance mutations, typically result in changes in HBsAg. Recent studies have conferred a new acronym for these HBV pol/S gene overlap mutants; ADAPVEMs, for antiviral drug-associated potential vaccine-escape mutants. The aim of this study was to investigate clinically and epidemiologically significant HBV pol/S gene mutations in NA treated CHB patients. In the study, a total of 100 patients who received nucleoside/nucleotide analogue therapy for one year or more were included. The levels of HBV DNA from serum samples were detected by the commercial real-time PCR assay and the mutations of pol/S genes by direct sequencing. Sixteen samples with low HBV DNA levels (> 200 IU/ml) could not be interpreted by sequencing due to insufficient amplification. Of the remaining 84 patients that could be sequenced HBV pol gene of HBV, 53 (63.09%) were males and 31 (36.91%) were women and the mean age was 47 +/- 14.99 years (range: 20-67). Primary/secondary drug mutations (rtM204I/V, rtI169S, rtL180M, rtT184L, rtA194V, rtM204I/rtL91I, rtQ149K, rtQ215H/S, rtN238D) were detected in 38 (45.2%) of the patients. Because of the HBV pol/S gene overlapping, in 27 patients immun-selected amino acid substitutions (sI110L, sT127P, sS114A, sT123A), in nine patients HBIg selected escape mutants (sP120R, sT123N, sE164D, sY134F, sQ129H, sT118A, sP127K), in seven patients vaccine escape mutants (sT126I, sP120S, sG145A, s S193L) and in one patient misdiagnosis of HBsAg (sT131I) were detected. In addition, antiviral drug-associated potential vaccine-escape mutants were detected in 13 (15.4%) patients. In patients with chronic HBV, NAs including commonly used lamivudine were observed to have the potential for ADAPVEM to emerge during treatment. It was concluded that after determination of antiviral drug resistance and ADAPVEMs replanning of treatment should be done in the NA treatment of patients with CHB.