Allogeneic hematopoietic SCT (HSCT) increases the risk of hepatitis B virus (HBV) reactivation in hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) carriers but the incidence, risk factors and course of HBV reactivation after HSCT in HBsAg-negative/anti-hepatitis B core antigen (anti-HBc)-positive recipients are not well known. A total of 50 HBsAg-negative/anti-HBc-positive HSCT recipients with onco-hematological diseases, underwent sequential clinical and laboratory examinations, including serum HBsAg, during follow-up. Serum HBV DNA collected at HSCT was retrospectively amplified by a sensitive PCR assay. During 17 months of follow-up, six (12%) patients had seroreverted to HBsAg, 7-32 months after HSCT, with 1- and 5-year cumulative rates of 13 and 22%. HBsAg seroreversion was associated with serum HBeAg higher than 8 log 10 copies per ml HBV DNA and a 1.5 to 36 fold increase of serum alanine aminotransferase leading to HBeAg-positive chronic hepatitis B in all patients. Patients with chronic onco-hematological disease and long-lasting immunosuppression following HSCT had a higher risk of HBsAg seroreversion independently of serum HBV DNA levels at HSCT. HBsAg-negative/anti-HBc-positive HSCT recipients with chronic onco-hematological disease carry a significant risk of HBsAg seroreversion and HBeAg-positive chronic hepatitis B, independently of serum levels of HBV DNA at transplantation.
- stem cells
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