Hepatitis B virus reactivation and alemtuzumab therapy

Authors


Dr Emilio Iannitto, Department of Oncology, Hematology and Bone Marrow Transplantation Unit, University of Palermo, Policlinico P. Giaccone, Via del Vespro 127, Palermo 90129, Italy
Tel.: 0039 091 655 4419
Fax: 0039 091 655 4415
e-mail: eiannitto@tin.it

Abstract

Abstract:  Reactivation of hepatitis B virus infection in subjects receiving cytotoxic treatment for heamatological malignancies occurs in 21–53% of chronic HBsAg carriers and in an unknown number of HBsAg negative subjects harbouring occult HBV infection. Immunotherapy with alemtuzumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody against CD52 epitopes on lymphocytes cells produces deep immunosuppression. We describe two subjects with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and occult HBV infection who developed a virological and biochemical flare of hepatitis B following immunotherapy with alemtuzumab. One of them developed full blown hepatitis with seroreversion from anti-HBs to HBsAg after four weeks of alemtuzumab therapy. Lamivudine (100 mg die) achieved a complete clinical recovery and HBV-DNA clearance from blood within 8 weeks. The second patient (HBsAg and HBV-DNA seronegative, anti-HBs and anti-HBc positive before treatment) was kept under prophylaxis with lamivudine up to three months after alemtuzumab. Two months after withdrawal of lamivudine, clinical and laboratory features of acute hepatitis B developed. Lamivudine therapy was restarted and a prompt recovery was obtained with HBsAg and HBV-DNA clearance.

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