Division of Hepatobiliary Surgery and Liver Transplantation, Department of Surgery, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
A considerable proportion of recipients of liver transplantations who are presented hepatitis B immunoglobulin (HBIG) monotherapy for hepatitis B virus (HBV) prophylaxis develop HBIG resistance. In this study, we investigated the mutation patterns in the major hydrophilic region (MHR) of amino acid sequences 100 to 160.
Using the gene sequence analyzer for amino acid sequences 0 to 226 in the S/pre-S region we analyzed blood samples of 15 patients showing HBIG resistance after high-dose HBIG prophylaxis.
Various mutations in the MHR were observed in 14/15 samples: Gly145Arg mutation in 8/13 Adr subtype and 1/2 Ayw subtype samples (60%). The next most common mutation was Gly165Trp in 8/13 Adr subtype but neither of 2 Ayw subtype samples (53.3%). Concurrent antiviral resistance was noted in 5 patients: lamivudine (n = 5), or entecavir (n = 3), but not adefovir, suggesting the occurrence of simultaneous, antiviral cross-resistances. Two patients underwent retransplantation due to the progression of HBV infection despite vigorous antiviral therapy. At diagnosis of HBV recurrence, the mean HBV DNA load was 6.5 × 10(6) copies/mL; 4 patients showed paradoxical coexistence of anti-HBs and HBsAg. Currently, 2 subjects show low-level HBV DNA replication in peripheral blood, although the other 12 had no DNA replication after prolonged antiviral therapy.
This study suggested that various mutations in the "a" determinant were associated with HBIG resistance. Since treatment failure to rescue antiviral therapy was often associated with delayed detection of HBV recurrence rather than concurrent antiviral resistance, frequent HBV surveillance using more sensitive screening tests, such as HBeAg and HBV DNA polymerase chain reaction assay, seems to be mandatory.