Antiviral therapy improves survival in patients with HBV infection and intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma undergoing liver resection

J Hepatol. 2018 Apr;68(4):655-662. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2017.11.015. Epub 2017 Nov 16.


Background & aims: The impact of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection on outcomes after resection of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC) has not been reported. The aim of this study was to examine the impact of antiviral therapy on survival outcomes after liver resection for patients with ICC and underlying HBV infection.

Methods: Data on 928 patients with ICC and HBV infection who underwent liver resection at two medical centers between 2006 and 2011 were analyzed. Data on viral reactivation, tumor recurrence, cancer-specific survival (CSS) and overall survival (OS) were obtained. Survival rates were analyzed using the time-dependent Cox regression model adjusted for potential covariates.

Results: Postoperative viral reactivation occurred in 3.3%, 8.3% and 15.7% of patients who received preoperative antiviral therapy, who did not receive preoperative antiviral therapy with a low, or a high HBV-DNA level (< or ≥2,000 IU/ml), respectively (p <0.001). A high viral level and viral reactivation were independent risk factors of recurrence (hazard ratio [HR] 1.22 and 1.34), CSS (HR 1.36 and 1.46) and OS (HR1.23 and 1.36). Five-year recurrence, CSS and OS were better in patients who received antiviral therapy (70.5%, 46.9% and 43.0%) compared with patients who did not receive antiviral therapy and had a high viral level (86.5%, 20.9% and 20.5%, all p <0.001), respectively. The differences in recurrence, CSS and OS were minimal compared with no-antiviral therapy patients with a low viral level (71.7%, 35.5% and 33.5%, p = 0.057, 0.051 and 0.060, respectively). Compared to patients with a high viral level who received no antiviral therapy, patients who initiated antiviral therapy either before or after surgery had better long-term outcomes (HR 0.44 and 0.54 for recurrence; 0.38 and 0.57 for CSS; 0.46 and 0.54 for OS, respectively).

Conclusions: Viral reactivation was associated with worse prognoses after liver resection for HBV-infected patients with ICC. Antiviral therapy decreased viral reactivation and prolonged long-term survival for patients with ICC and a high viral level.

Lay summary: Postoperative hepatitis B virus reactivation was associated with an increased complication rate and a decreased survival rate after liver resection in patients with ICC and hepatitis B virus infection. Antiviral therapy before liver resection reduced the risk of postoperative viral reactivation. Both pre- and postoperative antiviral therapy was effective in prolonging patient survival.

Keywords: Antiviral therapy; HBV-DNA level; Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma; Liver resection; Prognosis; Viral reactivation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms / mortality
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms / virology
  • Cholangiocarcinoma / mortality
  • Cholangiocarcinoma / surgery*
  • Cholangiocarcinoma / virology
  • Female
  • Hepatectomy*
  • Hepatitis B / drug therapy*
  • Hepatitis B / mortality
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Virus Activation / drug effects*


  • Antiviral Agents