, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 67-72

Reactivation of hepatitis B virus infection with cytotoxic therapy in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

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In patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), there are some well-known tumor-related adverse prognostic factors that may increase the mortality rate. However, secondary factors such as viral hepatitis carriers that may decrease the cure rates are usually ignored. Reactivation of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in patients undergoing cytotoxic treatment for NHL is a well-known complication. Charts of 112 patients with NHL were retrospectively analyzed regarding their hepatitis serology, the indirect effects of seropositivity on disease outcome, and the precautions undertaken in these seropositive patients with NHL. Twelve patients (11%) with HBsAg positivity and two patients (1.7%) with antibody to hepatitis C virus positivity were detected. Eight out of 12 patients (67%) with HBsAg positivity and two patients (50%) with anti-HCV positivity showed reactivation of hepatitis during treatment of NHL. No reactivation was detected in four patients seropositive for HBV, who were given lamivudine prophylaxis before the initiation of chemotherapy schedules. Among patients with hepatitis reactivation, two were treated with lamivudine resulting in dramatic improvement and clinical remission of the disease. The remaining six patients with reactivation were left untreated, resulting in four deaths (67%) due to liver failure secondary to HBV and two deaths secondary to delayed treatment of NHL. One patient seropositive for anti-HCV also developed chronic hepatitis C. Determination of hepatitis serology in all patients with NHL before any chemotherapy administration is crucial, but insufficient, if not taken into consideration. In seropositive patients, HBV DNA should be determined and antiviral prophylaxis with lamivudine should be initiated before any treatment.