The 13C-caffeine breath test is a non-invasive, quantitative test of liver function.
Dr Park and colleagues from Australia determined the utility of the 13C-caffeine breath test in chronic Hepatitis B virus.
The research team also determined the ability of the 13C-caffeine breath test to monitor response to lamivudine.
The team reported that 48 chronic Hepatitis B virus patients and 24 controls underwent the 13C-caffeine breath test.
The 13C-caffeine breath tests were performed at 1 week in 12 of the 28 patients commenced on lamivudine and after 1 year of therapy.
The researchers found that patients with Metavir F0 to F1 fibrosis had a 13C-caffeine breath test similar to controls.
|13C-caffeine improved by 61% in responders to long-term lamivudine|
|Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics|
However, patients with F2 to F3 fibrosis and cirrhotic patients had a decreased 13C-caffeine breath test.
The research team noted that fibrosis correlated best with the 13C-caffeine breath test.
The 13C-caffeine breath test independently predicted significant, or F2, and advanced, F3, fibrosis.
The team observed that 13C-caffeine breath test predicted the greatest area under the receiver operating characteristic curve for predicting advanced fibrosis.
The test was unaltered by 1 week of lamivudine but improved by 61% in responders to long-term lamivudine.
However, the researchers noted that in those with viraemia and elevated alanine aminotransferase, values remained stable or deteriorated.
Dr Park's team commented, “The 13C-caffeine breath test distinguishes chronic Hepatitis B virus-related fibrosis and detects improvement in liver function in response to long-term lamivudine.”