Recurrent viral liver disease (hepatitis B and C) after liver transplantation

Arch Med Res. 2007 Aug;38(6):691-701. doi: 10.1016/j.arcmed.2006.09.003.


Hepatitis C represents more than 35% of liver transplant candidates worldwide. Meanwhile, hepatitis B continues to be an important cause of end-stage liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma in Asia and Africa. Recurrent viral liver disease is a significant event after liver transplantation and continues to be one of the main causes of graft dysfunction and loss in the middle and long-term follow-up. Mechanisms of liver reinfection and disease recurrence vary between these two viruses and pre-emptive as well as the therapeutic approaches are different. Hepatitis B patients can be managed with immune globulin immediately after liver transplant and various agents such as nucleotide and nucleoside analogues can be associated. As a result, disease recurrence has been delayed or prevented in these patients. Individuals transplanted for hepatitis C are known to have universal reinfection and a high rate of disease recurrence has been reported in the literature. Strategies to treat hepatitis C recurrence are limited to the use of pegylated interferon and ribavirin when disease is demonstrated histologically and biochemically, although other strategies have been described with limited or no success. We herein review the mechanisms of disease recurrence and the current as well as the future therapeutic approaches to prevent and to treat these diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cyclosporine / therapeutic use
  • Hepacivirus / physiology
  • Hepatitis B virus / physiology
  • Hepatitis B* / complications
  • Hepatitis B* / prevention & control
  • Hepatitis B* / therapy
  • Hepatitis B* / virology
  • Hepatitis C* / complications
  • Hepatitis C* / prevention & control
  • Hepatitis C* / therapy
  • Hepatitis C* / virology
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance
  • Immunization, Passive
  • Immunoglobulins / therapeutic use
  • Liver Transplantation*
  • Nucleic Acid Synthesis Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Factors


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Immunoglobulins
  • Nucleic Acid Synthesis Inhibitors
  • Cyclosporine
  • hepatitis B hyperimmune globulin