Incidence of Hepatitis B Viral Reactivation After Kidney Transplantation With Low-Dose Rituximab Administration

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BackgroundIn hematological malignancy patients intended to receive rituximab, hepatitis B virus (HBV) serology screening, viral reactivation monitoring, are recommended. However, the effect of single-dose rituximab (RIT) on HBV reactivation in kidney transplant patients with previous HBV infection is still unclear.MethodsIn this retrospective cohort study consisting of 1294 kidney transplant patients, we identified 76 patients showing preoperative hepatitis B surface antigen–negative, hepatitis B core antibody–positive, and HBV-DNA–negative results. A rituximab dose of 200 mg/body was administered to 48 patients, 46 of whom did not receive prophylaxis (RIT+ group). Twenty-eight patients received neither rituximab nor prophylaxis (RIT− group). We monitored HBV-DNA by polymerase chain reaction every 1 to 3 months, and HBV reactivation was defined as detectable HBV-DNA.ResultsHBV reactivation was found in 1 patient in the RIT+ group (2.2%) and 1 patient in the RIT− group (3.6%) at 6 weeks and 5.5 years posttransplant, respectively, but spontaneously cleared. Both patients showed positive hepatitis B surface antibody preoperatively. HBV reactivation was not found in 6 patients lacking anti-hepatitis B surface preoperatively.ConclusionsLow-dose RIT administration in kidney transplant patients without prophylaxis is associated with low incidence of HBV reactivation. However, the comparisons among standard-dose RIT, low-dose RIT, and controls with high-quality study design is necessary.

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