Posttransplantation: future therapies

Semin Liver Dis. 2000;20 Suppl 1:19-24.


Recent advances in prophylaxis and treatment of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection after liver transplantation have improved the outcome of liver transplantation for hepatitis B. Currently, the long-term use of hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG) and/or nucleoside analogues are the only effective therapies to prevent or ameliorate HBV recurrence in liver transplant patients. However, they are very expensive, and breakthrough infections due to resistant HBV mutants are not infrequent. New strategies are being sought to decrease the risks of breakthrough infection and to increase the cost-effectiveness of liver transplantation for hepatitis B. Vaccination to prevent de novo infection is strongly recommended before transplantation, despite a decreased response in this immunosuppressed population. Adoptive transfer of immunity with such therapies as bone marrow or cytotoxic T lymphocyte transplants or xenotransplantation of an organ from a donor, which is not susceptible to infection by HBV may be effective in preventing or treating recurrent HBV posttransplantation. In addition, gene therapies and use of nucleoside and nucleotide analogues to disrupt various stages of the HBV life cycle may prevent or slow viral replication or assembly of the virus. Ultimately, the most effective therapy for the prevention of recurrent hepatitis B after liver transplantation will involve a combination of HBIG with one or more of the new antiviral agents.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Hepatitis B / prevention & control
  • Hepatitis B / surgery*
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines*
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy
  • Liver Transplantation*
  • Postoperative Care*
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Transplantation, Heterologous


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines