Hepatitis B virus reactivation in patients with resolved hepatitis B virus infection receiving chemotherapy or immunosuppressive therapy

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Abstract

Background

The role of antiviral prophylaxis before chemotherapy or immunosuppressive therapy to prevent hepatitis B virus (HBV) reactivation in patients with resolved HBV infection [hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) negative, hepatitis B core antibody (anti-HBc) positive] is unclear. This study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of prophylactic antiviral therapy and outcomes of HBsAg-negative, anti-HBc-positive patients who received chemotherapy or immunosuppressive therapy.

Patients and methods

We retrospectively evaluated the medical records of HBsAg-negative, anti-HBc-positive patients who underwent chemotherapy or immunosuppressive therapy from January 2013 through November 2016 at a single institute in southern Taiwan.

Results

Among 1000 included HBsAg-negative, anti-HBc-positive patients, the rate of hepatitis B surface antibody (anti-HBs) seropositivity before chemotherapy or immunosuppressive therapy was 76.6%. Twenty-six patients received a prophylactic oral antiviral agent (one telbuvudine, two lamivudine, 22 entecavir, and one tenofovir). Seven (0.7%) patients were diagnosed with HBV reactivation during or after chemotherapy courses. In multivariate Cox regression analysis, an rituximab-based regimen (hazard ratio: 11.74; 95% confidence interval: 1.62–84.94; P=0.02) and baseline anti-HBs-positive status (hazard ratio: 0.17; 95% confidence interval: 0.04–0.8; P=0.03) were significant predictive factors for HBV reactivation. Among anti-HBs-negative recipients of rituximab-based chemotherapy, HBV reactivation was observed in zero of nine patients who received prophylactic antiviral therapy and three (33.3%) of nine patients who did not.

Conclusion

Negative anti-HBs status and rituximab-containing regimens are both important factors for predicting chemotherapy or immunosuppressive therapy-related HBV reactivation in patients with resolved HBV infection. Therefore, antiviral prophylaxis should be considered in this patient population.

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