• HBV reactivation;
  • bone marrow transplantation;
  • lamivudine;
  • alemtuzumab


Individuals with past exposure to hepatitis B virus (HBV) may reactivate HBV following bone marrow transplantation. Alemtuzumab (CAMPATH)-based reduced intensity conditioning bone marrow transplantation has been associated with a high incidence of viral infections. Lamivudine prophylaxis for HBV should be instituted in this setting. The management of 240 CAMPATH-based reduced intensity conditioning bone marrow transplantation, carried out over an 8-year period at Kings College Hospital, was reviewed. Hepatitis B core total antibody (anti-HBc) testing identified recipients and donors with previous HBV exposure. Fifteen donor–recipient pairs were identified as being at risk of HBV reactivation. Eight recipients of anti-HBc negative donors were HBsAg negative, anti-HBc positive pre-transplantation. Five anti-HBc negative recipients received transplants from HBsAg negative, anti-HBc positive donors. Two HBV carrier recipients had one anti-HBc negative and one positive donor, respectively. Pre-transplant lamivudine prophylaxis was given to 8/10 (80%) anti-HBc positive recipients. Although HBsAg and HBV DNA were detected 4 months after bone marrow transplantation in one patient who did not receive prophylaxis, a good antiviral response was documented on starting lamivudine. The two HBV carrier recipients had stopped lamivudine at 8 and 31 months post-bone marrow transplantation, respectively, and died of liver failure with a sharp rise in HBV DNA levels. The five anti-HBc negative recipients with anti-HBc positive donors remained HBsAg and HBV DNA negative. Although lamivudine prophylaxis prevented HBV reactivation, it is unclear at what stage post-transplantation prophylaxis can be discontinued. Close monitoring of liver function tests (LFTs), HBsAg, and HBV DNA must be undertaken even after stopping antiviral prophylaxis. J. Med. Virol. 78:1560–1563, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.