BACKGROUND AND AIM:
Without effective prophylaxis, liver transplantation (LT) for hepatitis B virus (HBV)-related liver disease is frequently complicated by severe and rapidly progressive HBV recurrence. We analyzed the combination of low-dose hepatitis B immunoglobulin (HBIG) and the new nucleos(t)ide analogue, entecavir, as prophylaxis for HBV recurrence after living donor liver transplantation (LDLT).
A total of 315 patients with positive hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) underwent LDLT at our transplant center between July 2003 and December 2011. Our protocol for post-transplantation HBV prophylaxis was a combination of low-dose HBIG and nucleos(t)ide analogues.
During a median follow-up period of 49 months post-transplant, 10 patients (3.2%) had HBV recurrence, which was significantly related to HCC at transplantation (p = 0.041) and post-LT antiviral agent (p < 0.001) in multivariate analysis. The level of HBV DNA and hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) state at transplantation were not significant factors for HBV recurrence (p = 0.342 and p = 0.802 respectively). In 170 patients with HCC at LDLT, HCC recurrence was significantly related to HBV recurrence (p < 0.001). Among 10 patients with HBV recurrence, three are alive and two had lost HBsAg. The remaining seven patients died of HCC recurrence.
The combination of low-dose HBIG and nucleos(t)ide analogues is safe and effective for HBV prophylaxis after LDLT. As a post-LT antiviral treatment, entecavir is more effective than lamivudine. HCC at transplantation was significantly associated with HBV recurrence. HBV-related HCC patients who undergo LDLT require close virological monitoring.