Peginterferon lambda for the treatment of HBeAg-positive chronic hepatitis B: A randomized phase 2b study (LIRA-B)

LIRA-B Study Team

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Background & Aims Peginterferon lambda-1a (lambda) is a Type-III interferon, which, like alfa interferons, has antiviral activity in vitro against hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV); however, lambda has a more limited extra-hepatic receptor distribution. This phase 2b study (LIRA-B) evaluated lambda in patients with chronic HBV infection. Methods Adult HBeAg+ interferon-naive patients were randomized (1:1) to weekly lambda (180 μg) or peginterferon alfa-2a (alfa) for 48 weeks. The primary efficacy endpoint was HBeAg seroconversion at week 24 post-treatment; lambda non-inferiority was demonstrated if the 80% confidence interval (80% CI) lower bound was >-15%. Results Baseline characteristics were balanced across groups (lambda N = 80; alfa N = 83). Early on-treatment declines in HBV-DNA and qHBsAg through week 24 were greater with lambda. HBeAg seroconversion rates were comparable for lambda and alfa at week 48 (17.5% vs. 16.9%, respectively); however lambda non-inferiority was not met at week 24 post-treatment (13.8% vs. 30.1%, respectively; lambda vs. alfa 80% CI lower bound -24%). Results for other key secondary endpoints (virologic, serologic, biochemical) and post hoc combined endpoints (HBV-DNA <2000 IU/ml plus HBeAg seroconversion or ALT normalization) mostly favored alfa. Overall adverse events (AE), serious AE, and AE-discontinuation rates were comparable between arms but AE-spectra differed (more cytopenias, flu-like, and musculoskeletal symptoms observed with alfa, more ALT flares and bilirubin elevations seen with lambda). Most on-treatment flares occurred early (weeks 4-12), associated with HBV-DNA decline; all post-treatment flares were preceded by HBV-DNA rise. Conclusions On-treatment, lambda showed greater early effects on HBV-DNA and qHBsAg, and comparable serologic/virologic responses at end-of-treatment. However, post-treatment, alfa-associated HBeAg seroconversion rates were higher, and key secondary results mostly favored alfa. number: NCT01204762.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1011-1019
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Hepatology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2016 May 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb . The study was designed and conducted by the sponsor in collaboration with the principal investigators. The sponsor collected the data, monitored the study conduct, and performed the statistical analyses.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 European Association for the Study of the Liver.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Hepatology


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