However, a point to note is that this was a small cohort study without a comparator arm.
Patients taking entecavir for chronic hepatitis B are still at risk for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), a recent study suggests.
The findings, published online July 10 in Gut, also show that HCC risk scores based on demographic, clinical, and virologic characteristics are poor predictors, especially in Caucasians.
"This is an important study that shows that entecavir, which is a very strong antiviral agent, can very well suppress the virus, silence the disease, and get the disease in remission," Dr. Harry Janssen, a hepatologist at University of Toronto in Canada and a co-author of the study, told Reuters Health.
"This means you have less inflammation, less fibrosis, and less cirrhosis in these patients, but it does not prevent liver cancer," he said. "It is probably the case that the number of patients with liver cancer is reduced, but if you respond to these treatments, liver cancer is not completely eliminated."
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