Prevention of hepatitis B flare-up during chemotherapy using lamivudine: case report and review of the literature

Ann Hematol. 1999 May;78(5):247-9. doi: 10.1007/s002770050510.


Reactivation of chronic hepatitis B in patients receiving cytotoxic treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is well documented. We report a case of a patient with chronic hepatitis B who was treated by chemotherapy because of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. After the second cycle of chemotherapy she developed a severe flare-up of hepatitis B. Liver biopsy revealed highly active hepatitis and confluent necroses. Within 3 weeks, the patient recovered spontaneously. Prophylactic treatment with lamivudine (Epivir,Glaxo-Wellcome, 150 mg b.i.d.) led to a decrease of HBV-DNA below the detection limit. Further chemotherapy was administered and autologous stem cell transplantation was successfully performed without another reactivation of hepatitis B. Antiviral treatment was stopped 16 weeks after stem cell retransfusion. So far, no further flare-up of hepatitis B has occurred and the patient's lymphoma has not relapsed. Thus, the case described here indicates a possible role of lamivudine in preventing hepatitis B flare-up during antineoplastic chemotherapy. We suggest that lamivudine be considered for prophylaxis against fulminant hepatitis in patients with chronic HBV infection undergoing high-dose antineoplastic therapy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Hepatitis B / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Lamivudine / therapeutic use*
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / drug therapy
  • Middle Aged
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*


  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors
  • Lamivudine