Objectives: The aim of the study was to analyze the prevalence and clinical characteristics of HCV/HBV coinfection and to evaluate the rate of HBV-reactivation during anti-HCV therapy in a large real-world study.
Methods: Analyzed population consisted of 10,152 chronic hepatitis C patients treated with DAA between 2015 and 2019 in a nationwide study. Prior to the DAA all subjects had HBsAg and 60% anti-HBc testing.
Results: 111 of 10,152 patients (1.1%) had detectable HBsAg and 1239 of 6139 (20.2%) anti-HBcAb. The prevalence of occult hepatitis B was 0.48%. HCV/HBV patients were younger with a higher proportion of males, HIV-coinfected, and advanced fibrosis. They were less often diagnosed with diabetes but more often with chronic kidney disease. In HBsAg(+) subjects with baseline HBV-DNA available 6/102 (5.9%) HBV-reactivations during or after DAA therapy were observed, and in two (1.9%) significant hepatic flares were noted. In HBsAg(-)/anti-HBc(+) group 2 (0.16%) reactivations were observed only in patients undergoing immunosuppressive therapy.
Discussion: Data from a large European cohort suggest a relatively low risk of HBV-reactivation during DAA-therapy for HCV infection in HBsAg(+) patients. In HBsAg(-)/anti-HBc(+) HBV-reactivation seems to be limited to subjects with immunodeficiency. Importantly, previous exposure to HBV and occult hepatitis B is present in a significant proportion of HCV-infected.
Keywords: Anti-HBc; DAA; HBV; HBsAg; HCV; coinfection; reactivation.