Hepatitis B virus (HBV) chronic infection causes progressive liver damage, although about 20% of patients develop extrahepatic manifestations such as cryoglobulinemic vasculitis (CV). Clinical manifestations range from mild to moderate (purpura, asthenia, arthralgia) to severe (leg ulcers, peripheral neuropathy, glomerulonephritis, non-Hodgkin lymphoma). A comprehensive review of therapeutic options for HBV-related CV is lacking. Nucleos(t)ide analogues (NA) suppress HBV replication in 90-100% of cases and induce clinical response in most patients with mild-to-moderate CV. Plasma exchange can be performed in patients with severe CV and should be considered in severe or life-threatening cases combined with high doses of corticosteroids and antiviral treatment. A cautious use of rituximab can be considered only in association with NA treatment in refractory cases. A review of the literature and an analysis of data collected by six centers of the Italian Group for the Study of Cryoglobulinemia on 18 HBV-CV nucleotide/nucleoside analogues (NAs)-treated patients were carried out.
Keywords: cryoglobulinemia; entecavir; hepatitis B virus; tenofovir; vasculitis.