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Effects of antiviral therapy on hepatitis B virus reactivation and liver function after resection or chemoembolization for hepatocellular carcinoma


  • Xiang-Ming Lao and Guangyu Luo contributed equally to this work.
  • Shengping Li and Xiaojun Lin contributed equally to this work.


Shengping Li, Department of Hepatobilliary Oncology, Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center, 651, Dongfeng Road East, Guangzhou, 510060, China

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How hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection react to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) treatment remains unclear, and the roles of anti-HBV therapy were seldom reported in HCC.


To evaluate changes of HBV replication and liver function after hepatectomy or transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) for HCC, also the short-term effects of anti-viral therapy were analyzed.


Totally, 590 HBsAg (+) HCC patients were recruited into two groups: only surgical resection, and only TACE, and subgrouped according to anti-HBV therapy or none. Clinical data were analyzed for statistical significance and risk factors for adverse events.


In the no antiviral therapy groups, rates of HBV reactivation were 15.7% and 17.5% in patients who underwent hepatectomy and TACE, respectively, while the rates of deterioration of liver function were 4.1% and 8.1%, respectively. In contrast, in the antivirus group, the rates of reactivation were 0% and 1.5% after hepatectomy and TACE respectively, while the liver function deterioration rates were 2.4% and 1.5%, respectively. For patients who underwent hepatectomy, no antiviral therapy, and long hepatic inflow occlusion times increased the risk of HBV reactivation. For TACE, no antivirus and HBeAg negativity were the risk factors for reactivation. HBV reactivation was significantly correlated to liver function exacerbation after hepatectomy, while HBV reactivation, baseline ALT (alanine aminotransferase), and α-fetoprotein levels were significantly correlated to liver function exacerbation after TACE.


HBV reactivation can occur after hepatectomy or TACE. Anti-HBV therapy can reduce the risk of reactivation, thus reducing the risk of liver failure especially in patients undergoing TACE.