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Hepatitis B prophylaxis post liver transplantation with newer nucleos(t)ide analogues after hepatitis B immunoglobulin discontinuation


Correspondence to:

Evangelos Cholongitas, 4th Department of Internal Medicine, Medical School of Aristotle University, Hippokration General Hospital of Thessaloniki, 49 Konstantinopoleos Street, Thessaloniki 54642, Greece

Tel: 30-2310892110

Fax: 30-2310992940


Newer nucleos(t)ide analogues (NUCs) have better resistance profiles making hepatitis B immunoglobulin (HBIG)-sparing protocol an attractive prophylactic approach against hepatitis B virus (HBV) recurrence after liver transplantation (LT). We evaluated the risk of HBV recurrence after withdrawal of HBIG in patients who had been under HBIG plus NUCs after LT. Stable patients without HBV recurrence after LT while receiving combination of HBIG plus NUCs for at least 12 months were eligible for HBIG discontinuation. The patients were at low risk for HBV recurrence (only 4.5% had detectable HBV DNA at the time of LT, and 32% had HBV/hepatitis D virus co-infection). All patients were followed up with HBV serum markers, HBV-DNA, and evaluation of renal function, including glomerular filtration rate. Forty-seven recipients discontinued HBIG and were maintained on newer NUCs. Median follow-up post-HBIG withdrawal was 24 months (range: 6–40 months). Twenty-eight (60%) patients continued on lamivudine in combination with adefovir dipivoxil (n = 23, 82%) or tenofovir (n = 5, 18%); 10 (21%) and 9 (19%) of the 47 patients continued on tenofovir and entecavir monoprophylaxis, respectively. Although 3 (6.3%) patients developed detectable hepatitis B surface antigen, all of them had undetectable HBV DNA and no clinical manifestations of HBV recurrence. Renal function was similar between the different groups of patients. In conclusion, maintenance therapy with newer NUCs after discontinuation of HBIG prophylaxis was effective, but further studies in larger cohorts with longer follow-up are needed.