Low risk of hepatitis B virus recurrence after withdrawal of long-term hepatitis B immunoglobulin in patients receiving maintenance nucleos(t)ide analogue therapy



Hepatitis B virus (HBV) recurrence rates of 0-16% had been reported in patients maintained on nucleoside analogues (NA) after hepatitis B immunoglobulin (HBIG) discontinuation after orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). However, follow-up in most studies was short. We aimed to determine the long-term risk of HBV recurrence using this strategy. All HBV patients who received ≥7 doses of intravenous HBIG after OLT, with no HBV recurrence while receiving HBIG, and who eventually discontinued HBIG and were maintained on NA, were included. HBV recurrence was defined as HBsAg-positive or HBV DNA ≥5 log copies/mL on 2 consecutive occasions. Twenty-one patients met the inclusion criteria. Immediate post-OLT prophylaxis was combination HBIG and NA in 15 patients, whereas 6 patients received HBIG monotherapy for 62-109 months before NA was added. HBIG was discontinued a median of 26 (range, 0.2-121) months after OLT. Median follow-up post-HBIG discontinuation was 40 (range, 5-51) months. Only 1 patient, who had 12 months of HBIG and was noncompliant to NA therapy, had HBV recurrence, 34 months after HBIG discontinuation. One patient had HBV DNA of 3.3 log copies/mL 47 and 48 months after HBIG discontinuation but remained HBsAg-negative. Lamivudine-resistant mutations were detected in both patients. Probability of HBV recurrence was 0% and 9% at 2 and 4 years after HBIG discontinuation. Three patients had 1-2 episodes of transiently detectable HBV DNA. All were HBV DNA and HBsAg negative on repeated tests over a period of 2-36 months. Maintenance therapy with NA after discontinuation of long-term HBIG therapy is associated with a low risk of HBV recurrence after OLT in compliant HBV patients. Liver Transpl 13:374–381, 2007. © 2007 AASLD.