People undergoing nucleoside analogue treatment for hepatitis B virus (HBV) are less likely to see improvement in liver fibrosis (scarring) if they are overweight.

Publishing their findings in Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, researchers recruited 123 people with severe liver fibrosis who were receiving nucleoside analogue treatment for hep B through a clinic in Hong Kong and had previously had their fibrosis tested. The recruitment took place between December 2014 and December 2015.

A total of 97.5 percent of the group had undetectable hep B.

Participants spent a median of 87.5 months on treatment for HBV. During that time, the average fibrosis level improved among the group. A total of 29.3 percent of them saw their fibrosis regress. Those with a body-mass index (BMI) of at least 25 (indicating that they were overweight), metabolic syndrome and diabetes had lower ranges of fibrosis regression than the cohort as a whole—a respective 17.9 percent, 14.9 percent and 11.5 percent of those in these three categories experienced fibrosis regression. A total of 16.9 percent of those who had any one of these three factors experienced fibrosis regression, compared with 43.1 percent of those who lacked any of the three factors.

After adjusting the data for various factors, the researchers found that having a lower BMI was the only factor independently linked to fibrosis regression.

To read the study abstract, click here.