Method: We followed a longitudinal cohort of Indigenous Australians from the Northern Territory of Australia with established subgenotype C4 infections. We assigned phases of disease according to Gastroenterological Society of Australia and Asian Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver criteria using clinical and laboratory information that had been collected for clinical management.
Results: Of 193 patients followed over a median of 38 months, 58 (30%) individuals transitioned from 1 disease phase to another, 10 (5%) cleared hepatitis B e antigen, and 6 cleared hepatitis B surface antigen (3%). In this relatively young cohort (median age 40.3 years), 26 (13%) had cirrhosis by the end of the follow up period, with the majority of these being in the immune control phase of disease.
Conclusions: In this cohort of hepatitis B subgenotype C4 patients, we report an aggressive and dynamic clinical phenotype. High rates of cirrhosis at a young age appear to occur in the early phases of disease.