Reactivation of hepatitis viruses following immunomodulating systemic chemotherapy


Correspondence: Dr Yasuhito Tanaka, Department of Virology and Liver Unit, Nagoya City University Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kawasumi, Mizuho, Nagoya 467-8601, Japan. Email:


Reactivation of hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection following anticancer chemotherapy and immunosuppressive therapy is a well-known complication. HBV reactivation has been reported to be associated with anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody rituximab-containing chemotherapy and tumor necrosis factor-α inhibitor-containing immunosuppressive therapy in HBV resolved patients (hepatitis B surface antigen negative and antibodies against hepatitis B core antigen positive and/or antibodies against surface antigen positive). On the other hand, HCV reactivation has been reported to be associated with liver damage or hepatic dysfunction, but fulminant hepatitis due to HCV reactivation is a rare complication. In this review, we describe the pathophysiology of the reactivation of HBV and HCV infection, as well as the clinical evidence and management of HCV reactivation.