Hepatitis B e antigen status and hepatitis B DNA levels in women of childbearing age with chronic hepatitis B infection screening for clinical trials

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PLoS One


BACKGROUND: Perinatal or mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis B virus (HBV) results in a high frequency of chronic infection. Risk of mother-to-child transmission is associated with maternal viral factors including hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) positivity and viral load.

AIM: To investigate associations between age, HBeAg status, HBV DNA levels and genotype in female patients screened for inclusion into two contemporary, randomized HBV trials.

METHODS: Retrospective analyses focused on differences between women of childbearing age (≤44 years) and older women. Female patients (N = 355; 18-69 years) were included in the analysis: 41.7% of patients were Asian. In total, 44.4% were HBeAg-positive.

RESULTS: Significantly more women aged ≤44 years were HBeAg-positive compared to women ≥45 years (57.2% versus 27.5%, respectively, p108 copies mL: ≤44 years 46.0% vs ≥45 years 25.5%, respectively; p

CONCLUSIONS: Women of childbearing age with CHB are more likely to have high HBV viral load and HBeAg positivity than older women; this likelihood decreases with age. Maternal serological and virological status should therefore be established early in pregnancy, taking into account age and genotype, and a risk-reducing strategy implemented in any patient who is HBeAg positive and has a high viral load.

Medical Subject Headings

Adolescent; Adult; Age Factors; Aged; Antiviral Agents; DNA, Viral; Female; Genotype; Hepatitis B e Antigens; Hepatitis B virus; Hepatitis B, Chronic; Humans; Middle Aged; Patient Selection; Pregnancy; Retrospective Studies; Viral Load; Young Adult

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