Department of Gastroenterology, Hospital Center of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) reactivation is a well-recognized complication that occurs in lymphoma patients who undergo chemotherapy. Only very few cases of HBV reactivation in patients with isolated antibody against hepatitis B surface antigen (anti-HBs) have been reported. We present a case of a 78-year-old woman diagnosed with diffuse large B cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma who only displayed a positive anti-HBs, as the single possible marker of occult HBV infection, before starting therapy. She was treated with several chemotherapeutic regimens (including rituximab) for disease relapses during 3 years. Forty days after the last cycle of chemotherapy, she presented with jaundice, markedly elevated serum aminotransferase levels, and coagulopathy. HBV serology showed positivity for HBsAg, anti-HBc and anti-HBs. HBV DNA was positive. Antiviral treatment with entecavir was promptly initiated, but the patient died from liver failure. A review of the literature of HBV reactivation in patients with detectable anti-HBs levels is discussed.