Evolving experience of hepatitis B virus prophylaxis in liver transplantation

Authors


M. Hosein Shokouh-Amiri, MD, Professor of Surgery University of Tennessee- Memphis Department of Surgery 956 Court Avenue Suite A202, Memphis TN 38163-2116 USA Tel: +(901) 448 5924 Fax: +(901) 448 7208 e-mail: hamiri@utmem.edu

Abstract

Abstract: Passive immunoprophylaxis with hepatitis B immunoglobulin (HBIG) is important to prevent recurrence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) after orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) for chronic HBV cirrhosis. With availability of lamivudine (3TC), the use of combination prophylaxis with long-term HBIG/3TC has been shown to prevent short-term HBV recurrence. This report compares HBV recurrence rates between groups receiving no/short-term HBIG, long-term HBIG alone, or HBIG/3TC prophylaxis, and describes HBIG requirements during the first 6 and 12 months in the latter two groups. This study involved patients undergoing OLT at the University of Tennessee-Memphis between May 1990 and July 2001. During this period, 388 liver transplants were performed at our center. All hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)-positive recipients (n = 27) were included in this retrospective analysis. The groups were similar with regard to pre-transplant demographic characteristics such as age, gender, weight, and pre-transplant diagnosis. Owing to the retrospective study design, median follow-up was longer for the no-prophylaxis (5.6 years) and the HBIG-alone (6.0 years) groups compared to the HBIG/3TC group (4.2 years). Patient survival was 50% in the no-prophylaxis and 71% in the HBIG-alone groups compared to 100% in the HBIG/3TC group (P = 0.09). When censored for death with a functioning graft, graft survival was 50% in the no-prophylaxis and 86% in the HBIG-alone group compared to 100% in the HBIG/3TC group (P = 0.07). The overall incidence of HBV recurrence in the no-prophylaxis era was 100% and 21% in the HBIG-alone era compared to 0% in the HBIG/3TC era (P < 0.001), despite similar mean and median HBIG trough titers in the HBIG-alone and HBIG/3TC groups. The incidence of HBV recurrence in HBV DNA-positive recipients was 100% in the no-prophylaxis era, 30% in the HBIG-alone era, and 0% in the HBIG/3TC era (P < 0.001). Recipients in the HBIG-alone group had a nearly two-fold increase in HBIG requirement at 6 and 12 months in order to maintain similar HBIG trough titers post-transplant compared to recipients in the HBIG/3TC group despite similar pre-transplant HBV serology. This increased HBIG requirement in the HBIG-alone group resulted in a marked increase in the mean overall cost of HBV prophylaxis in this group ($47,367 at 6 months; $84,280 at 12 months) compared to the HBIG/3TC group ($25,931 at 6 months; $49,599 at 12 months). These data demonstrate an improvement in patient and graft survival rates in the group receiving combination HBIG/3TC prophylaxis compared to the HBIG-alone and no-prophylaxis groups. There was a significant reduction in HBV recurrence in the group receiving combination HBIG/3TC when compared to the groups receiving HBIG alone or no prophylaxis. Furthermore, we demonstrated that the addition of 3TC to the long-term HBIG regimen led to elimination of the disparity previously described in HBV recurrence rates between HBV DNA-positive and HBV DNA-negative recipients. Importantly, our data demonstrates a complete lack of HBV recurrence in the HBIG/3TC group at a median follow-up of 4.2 years. Additionally, the data show that the addition of 3TC to the post-operative prophylaxis regimen resulted in a reduction in the requirement of HBIG at 6 and 12 months, which markedly reduced the overall cost of post-transplant HBV prophylaxis.

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