Hepatitis B in patients with hematological diseases: An update

World J Hepatol. 2017 Sep 8;9(25):1043-1053. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v9.i25.1043.


Hepatitis B virus (HBV) reactivation (HBVr) in patients undergoing immunosuppressive therapy is still a hot topic worldwide. Its prevention and management still represents a challenge for specialists dealing with immunosuppressed patients. Aim of this paper is to provide a critical review of the relevant information emerged in the recent literature regarding HBV reactivation following immunosuppressive treatments for oncohematological tumors. A computerized literature search in MEDLINE was performed using appropriate terms arrangement, including English-written literature only or additional relevant articles. Articles published only in abstract form and case reports not giving considerable news were excluded. Clinical manifestation of HBVr can be manifold, ranging from asymptomatic self-limiting anicteric hepatitis to life-threatening fulminant liver failure. In clusters of patients adverse outcomes are potentially predictable. Clinicians should be aware of the inherent risk of HBVr among the different virological categories (active carriers, occult HBV carriers and inactive carriers, the most intriguing category), and classes of immunosuppressive drugs. We recommend that patients undergoing immunosuppressive treatments for hematological malignancies should undergo HBV screening. In case of serological sign(s) of current or past infection with the virus, appropriate therapeutic or preventive strategies are suggested, according to both virological categories, risk of HBVr by immunosuppressive drugs and liver status. Either antiviral drug management and surveillance and pre-emptive approach are examined, commenting the current international recommendations about this debated issue.

Keywords: Chemotherapy; Entecavir; Hematology; Hepatitis B virus; Immunosuppressive therapy; Lamivudine; Lymphoma; Occult/active/inactive carrier; Prophylaxis; Reactivation.

Publication types

  • Review