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Keywords:

  • hepatitis B virus;
  • lamivudine;
  • lymphoma;
  • malignancy;
  • prophylaxis

Summary.  Although hepatitis B virus (HBV) reactivation in HBV carriers undergoing immunosuppressive therapy is clearly documented, the role of antiviral prophylaxis in such individuals is still controversial. The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy of lamivudine prophylaxis in HBV carriers with haemato/oncological malignancies, who receive chemotherapy. Eighteen HBV carriers with malignancy, who were candidates for chemotherapy, were enrolled. Eight subjects (three with leukaemia, four with lymphoma and one with multiple myeloma) were enrolled for prophylactic lamivudine therapy. The remaining 10 patients (six with leukaemia, three with lymphoma and one with breast cancer) were not treated with lamivudine and were used as a control. Lamivudine was administered beginning on the same day as the chemotherapy and was maintained for a year after chemotherapy was discontinued. No HBV-related mortality was observed in either group. In the lamivudine-treated group, none of the subjects had clinical, biochemical or serological evidence of HBV reactivation during the time they were receiving chemotherapy and after their chemotherapy was discontinued. In contrast, five of the 10 HBV carriers not receiving lamivudine therapy experienced a reactivation of HBV infection. This reactivation of HBV was observed during the chemotherapy in four with one individual experiencing a HBV activation 12 months after chemotherapy was discontinued. No lamivudine-related major adverse effects were observed. Hence prophylactic lamivudine treatment in HBV carriers with haemato/oncological malignancy receiving chemotherapy prevents chemotherapy-induced HBV reactivation.