Prevention and risk factors of hepatitis B recurrence after living donor liver transplantation


  • Disclosures: Gun Hyung Na, Dong Goo Kim, Jae hyun Han, Eun Young Kim, Soo Ho Lee, Tae Ho Hong, Young Kyoung You, and Jong Young Choi have no conflict of interest or financial ties to disclose.


Background and Aim

Without effective prophylaxis, liver transplantation (LT) for hepatitis B virus (HBV)-related liver disease is frequently complicated by severe and rapidly progressive HBV recurrence. The combination of low-dose hepatitis B immunoglobulin (HBIG) and the new nucleos(t)ide analog, entecavir, as prophylaxis for HBV recurrence after living-donor LT (LDLT) were analyzed.


A total of 315 patients with positive hepatitis B surface antigen underwent LDLT at our transplant center between July 2003 and December 2011. Our protocol for post-transplantation HBV prophylaxis was a combination of low-dose HBIG and nucleos(t)ide analog.


During a median follow-up period of 49 months post-transplant, 10 patients (3.2%) had HBV recurrence, which was significantly related to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) at transplantation (P = 0.041) and post-LT antiviral agent (P < 0.001) in multivariate analysis. The level of HBV DNA and hepatitis B e antigen state at transplantation were not significant factors for HBV recurrence (P = 0.342 and P = 0.802, respectively). In 170 patients with HCC at LDLT, HCC recurrence was significantly related to HBV recurrence (P < 0.001). Among 10 patients with HBV recurrence, three are alive and two had lost hepatitis B surface antigen. The remaining seven patients died of HCC recurrence.


The combination of low-dose HBIG and nucleos(t)ide analogs is safe and effective for HBV prophylaxis after LDLT. As a post-LT antiviral treatment, entecavir is more effective than lamivudine. HCC at transplantation was significantly associated with HBV recurrence. HBV-related HCC patients who undergo LDLT require close virological monitoring.