Characterization of hepatitis B virus genotypes and quantitative hepatitis B surface antigen titres in North American tertiary referral liver centres

Stephen E. Congly, Philip Wong, Said A. Al-Busafi, Karen Doucette, Scott K. Fung, Peter Ghali, Kevin Fonseca, Robert P. Myers, Carla Osiowy, Carla S. Coffin

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13 Citations (Scopus)


Background & Aims: Hepatitis B virus (HBV) genotype and quantitative hepatitis B surface antigen (qHBsAg) have been related to clinical outcome. In this nationwide cross-sectional study, we aimed to investigate the epidemiology and clinical significance of HBV genotype and qHBsAg in patients with chronic hepatitis B (CHB). Methods: Six hundred and thirty patients with CHB were seen in four urban tertiary referral centres in Canada. HBV genotype was determined by line probe assay (INNO-LIPA) and HBV DNA quantified by commercial PCR (Roche TaqMan, sensitivity <55 IU/ml or AMPLICOR, sensitivity <60 IU/ml). Titres of qHBsAg were determined by an in-house assay based on the WHO standard (calibration range 0.24-62.5 IU/ml). Results: In 630 patients (57% male, 69% Asian, median age 42 years), 21% were hepatitis B e antigen positive and the median alanine aminotransferase was 29 U/L. The HBV genotype distribution was A (16%), B (29%), C (31%), D (16%), E (6%). HBV genotype was strongly associated with ethnicity, but neither genotype nor qHBsAg correlated with the degree of fibrosis. In the treatment-naïve patients, the baseline qHBsAg levels correlated with HBV DNA (r = 0.2517, P < 0.0008). The median qHBsAg levels were lowest in patients with genotype B (P < 0.0001), but no significant correlation was noted with all other HBV genotypes. Conclusions: In this large North American HBV epidemiological study, genotypes B and C were the most common; however, all genotypes (A-E) were observed with varied distribution nationwide. Baseline qHBsAg significantly correlated with HBV DNA and with HBV genotype B, but not with liver fibrosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1363-1369
Number of pages7
JournalLiver International
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013



  • Canada
  • Chronic hepatitis B
  • HBV genotype
  • Quantitative hepatitis B surface antigen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology

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