, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 387-393
Date: 17 Oct 2012

Lamivudine prophylaxis for hepatitis B virus carrier patients with breast cancer during adjuvant chemotherapy

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This study aimed to assess the efficacy of lamivudine prophylaxis on hepatic complications in HBsAg-positive patients with breast cancer undergoing adjuvant chemotherapy and to describe the temporal trend in HBV surveillance and prophylaxis during the last decade.


Patients with stage I–III curatively resected invasive breast cancer who received adjuvant and/or neoadjuvant chemotherapy between 2000 and 2009 were eligible for this study. Patients with positive HBsAg and normal liver function were enrolled. Hepatotoxicity, defined as alanine aminotransferase (ALT) ≥100 IU/ml, and HBV reactivation were compared according to lamivudine prophylaxis. Annual trends in HBV surveillance and use of lamivudine prophylaxis were also reviewed.


One hundred sixty-five HBsAg-positive patients with breast cancer were enrolled. After the year 2004, surveillance of HBV infection status and use of lamivudine prophylaxis increased significantly (2.5 vs. 57.6 %, P < 0.001). Seventy-three (44.2 %) patients received lamivudine prophylaxis and 92 (55.8 %) patients did not. The incidence of hepatotoxicity was significantly lower in the group receiving prophylaxis (2.7 vs. 14.1 %, P = 0.011) with fewer premature terminations of planned adjuvant chemotherapy (0 vs. 10.9 %, P = 0.004) in the prophylaxis group. Among the patients for whom the baseline HBV DNA titer was available, the HBV reactivation rate was lower, albeit not significantly, in the prophylaxis group (0 %) compared with the no prophylaxis group (20 %) (P = 0.104). Lamivudine-withdrawal hepatitis was not detected; however, one case of breakthrough HBV reactivation during lamivudine treatment was observed in this study.


Over the past decade, there has been an increase in the awareness of HBV reactivation and in the use of lamivudine during cytotoxic chemotherapy. Lamivudine prophylaxis reduced hepatic complications during adjuvant chemotherapy in patients with breast cancer. Lamivudine prophylaxis should be considered in HBsAg-positive patients with breast cancer who are candidates for adjuvant chemotherapy.

This study was presented in part at the 33rd San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, 8–12 December 2010, San Antonio, TX, USA, as a poster.
J.H. Kim and S.-A. Im contributed equally to this work.