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Keywords:

  • Anti-HBc;
  • hepatitis B;
  • hepatitis B immunoglobulin;
  • lamivudine;
  • liver transplantation

Clearance of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) by lamivudine is achieved in only a small proportion of patients with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. We investigated the effect of lamivudine on de novo HBV reactivation after living-donor liver transplantation when the number of HBV was expected to be very small. Thirty-eight HBV-naive recipients who received liver grafts from antibodies to core antigen-positive donors receiving hepatitis B immunoglobulin (HBIG) were studied. HBsAg appeared in nine cases (23.7 %) despite receiving HBIG for 12–71 months (mean: 35.1 months) after transplantation. Lamivudine treatment was started in six recipients during the acute phase of HBV reactivation. Five of the six recipients achieved complete clearance of HBsAg in sera at a median of 4.6 months (ranging from 21 to 330 days) after lamivudine administration. Although lamivudine was stopped in four cases, all remained negative for HBsAg. Our findings suggested that short-term lamivudine treatment during acute phase of HBV reactivation could achieve complete clearance of HBsAg in a significant number of liver transplant recipients.