Department of Hepatic Surgery I, Eastern Hepatobiliary Surgery Hospital, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai 200438, China.
This prospective randomized controlled trial investigated whether antiviral therapy decreases the risk of perioperative viral reactivation in patients with hepatitis B virus-induced hepatocellular carcinoma. Patients with hepatitis B virus-related hepatocellular carcinoma undergoing liver resection were screened. Eighty-four patients with low viral load were randomly assigned to receive either antiviral treatment with telbivudine or no therapy. The primary outcome was reactivation of viral replication. Secondary outcomes included liver function recovery and postoperative liver insufficiency. A total of 15 patients developed HBV reactivation during the perioperative period, of which 8 (57.1%) were within the first week after hepatectomy. The incidence of viral reactivation during the perioperative period was 2.5% (1/40) in the antiviral-treated group, compared with 31.8% (14/44) in the control group [HR 0.07 (95%CI 0.01-0.65); P = 0.001]. Liver function recovery was achieved in 82.5% (33/40) patients in the antiviral group on day 30 after hepatectomy, compared with 91.0% (40/44) in the nonantiviral group [HR 1.23 (95%CI 0.98-2.55); P = 0.109]. A total of 7 patients (8.9%) had postoperative liver insufficiency in both groups, but there was no relevant difference between the two groups. Antiviral therapy with telbivudine can significantly decrease the perioperative reactivation of viral replication in patients with hepatitis B virus-related hepatocellular carcinoma undergoing liver resection. Antiviral therapy is an appropriate option for all patients with viral replication undergoing liver resection.