Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is common throughout Asia and Africa. Evidence is inconclusive regarding whether chronic HBV infection increases risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).
We conducted a cohort study of 603,585 South Korean workers and their dependents enrolled during 1992–1995. Serum hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) measured at baseline indicated the presence of chronic HBV infection. We ascertained hematologic malignancies using national inpatient, outpatient, and mortality databases through 2006. Cox regression was used to evaluate associations with HBsAg status, adjusting for sex, age, and enrollment year.
53,045 subjects (8.8%) were HBsAg positive at baseline. Subsequently, 133 HBsAg positive and 905 HBsAg negative individuals developed NHL. HBsAg positive subjects had elevated risk of NHL overall (incidence 19.4 vs. 12.3 per 100,000 person-years; adjusted hazard ratio [HR] 1.74, 95%CI 1.45–2.09). Among NHL subtypes, risk was significantly elevated in association with HBsAg positivity for diffuse large B cell lymphoma (N=325 cases; adjusted HR 2.01, 95%CI 1.48–2.75) and non-significantly elevated for follicular NHL (N=47; 1.67, 0.71–3.95) and T-cell NHL (N=75; 1.40, 0.67–2.92); risk was also elevated for other/unknown NHL subtypes (N=591; 1.65, 1.29–2.11). Elevated risk was also observed for malignant immunoproliferation (N=14; adjusted HR 3.79, 95%CI, 1.05–13.7), a category that includes Waldenström macroglobulinemia. Risk of these malignancies was consistently elevated in HBsAg positive subjects throughout 14 years of follow-up. HBsAg positivity was not associated with Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple myeloma, or various leukemias.
During extended follow-up, HBsAg positive individuals manifested an elevated risk of NHL, suggesting that chronic infection promotes lymphomagenesis.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is hepatotropic and lymphotropic. HBV-infected individuals have an increased risk of developing malignant lymphoma, and the HBV infection rate in lymphoma patients is significantly higher than that in the general population. However, the exact mechanism and correlation between HBV infection and lymphoma onset and progression currently remain unclear. We retrospectively analyzed clinical data from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) patients with different HBV infection statuses. The results showed that the HBV infection rate was significantly higher in patients with B-cell type and late stage of NHL. The chemotherapy efficacy for NHL patients with chronic active HBV infection was significantly lower than that for the patients with chronic inactive HBV infection, the patients with HBV carriers and the patients without HBV infection. In addition, the NHL chemotherapy activated HBV replication and caused significant liver dysfunction, which could further reduce the chemotherapy efficacy. Through Kaplan-Meier survival curve and log-rank analysis, we found that the HBV infection status in NHL patients was significantly correlated with the patients’ progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS). Compared with the patients without HBV infection (PFS: 95% CI 47.915 to 55.640; OS: 95% CI 81.324 to 86.858), the PFS and OS of the patients with chronic active HBV infection were significantly shorter (PFS: 95% CI 9.424 to 42.589, P < 0.001; OS: 95% CI 42.840 to 82.259, P = 0.006). The study demonstrated that the sustained HBV replication in patients with chronic active HBV infection could be a key factor that influences the prognosis of NHL patients after chemotherapy, and thus may provide information for designing rational clinical treatments for NHL patients with different HBV infection statuses and improve the treatment efficacy and prognosis.
We investigated the effectiveness of lamivudine to prevent hepatitis flare up due to reactivation of hepatitis-B virus (HBV) in hepatitis-B surface antigen (HBsAg)-positive patients with Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) during cytotoxic chemotherapy. HBsAg-positive patients with NHL were identified from the lymphoma database of the Asan Medical Center from January 1995 to August 2002, and their medical records were reviewed. We found that 31 patients were received cytotoxic chemotherapy among 41 NHL patients with HBsAg-positive during same period. We divided them into 2 groups of HBsAg patients with NHL as follows: Group A who received cytotoxic chemotherapy with lamivudine 100 mg daily; Group B without any prophylactic antiviral therapy. There were no significant differences between Group A and B in several clinical variables. Seventeen patients (85%) in group B and one patient (9%) in Group A had hepatitis due to reactivation of HBV (p<0.001), with one hepatic failure related death in Group B and none in group A. The mean dose intensity of adriamycin actually delivered was 13.3 mg/m2/week (80% Relative Dose intensity (RDI)) in Group A and 9.1 mg/m2/week (55% RDI) in Groups B (p<0.001). Our data suggest that the frequency of chemotherapy-related HBV reactivation may be significantly decreased by lamivudine prophylaxis with maintenance of the dosage of adriamycin.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) reactivation is the frequent complication after cytotoxic chemotherapy in HBsAg-positive non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) patients. Pre-chemotherapy viral load may be a risk factor and HBeAg-positive status is associated with increased viral load. The aim of this study was to investigate the long-term treatment outcome of lamivudine in preventing HBV reactivation and its associated morbidity according to HBeAg status. Twenty-four adult HBsAg-positive NHL patients were taken 100 mg of lamivudine daily before the initiation of chemotherapy. The median duration of lamivudine therapy was 11.5 months (range: 1-54 months) and the median number of chemotherapy cycles was 6 (range: 1-16 cycles). The steroid containing chemotherapy regimens were used in 18 patients (75%), and the anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody containing chemotherapy regimen was used in 6 patients (25%). Four patients received autologous peripheral blood stem cell transplantation without resultant HBV reactivation. Hepatitis related to HBV reactivation was developed in 1 patient among 14 HBeAg-positive patients and no one among 10 HBeAg-negative. One patient developed HBV reactivation after lamivudine withdrawal, and 4 patients developed the YMDD (tyrosine-methionine-aspartate-aspartate) mutation during lamivudine therapy. There were no statistical differences in HBV reactivation rate during chemotherapy according to the HBeAg status. Our results demonstrate that lamivudine should be considered preemptively before the chemotherapy for all HBsAg-positive NHL patients to prevent HBV reactivation, regardless of pre-chemotherapy HBeAg status. Finally, compared with the chronic hepatitis B patients, similar rate of HBV reactivation after lamivudine withdrawal and development of YMDD mutation was observed in NHL patients.
HBV reactivation; lamivudine; non-Hodgkin's lymphoma; chemotherapy; HBeAg
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) reactivation is a well-recognized complication that occurs in lymphoma patients who undergo chemotherapy. Only very few cases of HBV reactivation in patients with isolated antibody against hepatitis B surface antigen (anti-HBs) have been reported. We present a case of a 78-year-old woman diagnosed with diffuse large B cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma who only displayed a positive anti-HBs, as the single possible marker of occult HBV infection, before starting therapy. She was treated with several chemotherapeutic regimens (including rituximab) for disease relapses during 3 years. Forty days after the last cycle of chemotherapy, she presented with jaundice, markedly elevated serum aminotransferase levels, and coagulopathy. HBV serology showed positivity for HBsAg, anti-HBc and anti-HBs. HBV DNA was positive. Antiviral treatment with entecavir was promptly initiated, but the patient died from liver failure. A review of the literature of HBV reactivation in patients with detectable anti-HBs levels is discussed.
Anti-HBs positive; entecavir; hepatitis B virus; lymphoma; reactivation
Occult hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a world-wide entity, following the geographical distribution of detectable hepatitis B. This entity is defined as the persistence of viral genomes in the liver tissue and in some instances also in the serum, associated to negative HBV surface antigen serology. The molecular basis of the occult infection is related to the life cycle of HBV, which produces a covalently closed circular DNA that persists in the cell nuclei as an episome, and serves as a template for gene transcription. The mechanism responsible for the HBsAg negative status in occult HBV carriers is a strong suppression of viral replication, probably due to the host’s immune response, co-infection with other infectious agents and epigenetic factors. There is emerging evidence of the potential clinical relevance of occult HBV infection, since this could be involved in occult HBV transmission through orthotopic liver transplant and blood transfusion, reactivation of HBV infection during immunosuppression, impairing chronic liver disease outcome and acting as a risk factor for hepatocellular carcinoma. Therefore it is important to bear in mind this entity in cryptogenetic liver diseases, hepatitis C virus/HIV infected patients and immunosupressed individuals. It is also necessary to increase our knowledge in this fascinating field to define better strategies to diagnose and treat this infection.
Hepatitis B virus; Occult infection; Persistent infection
Summary: Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a complex clinical entity frequently associated with cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The persistence of HBV genomes in the absence of detectable surface antigenemia is termed occult HBV infection. Mutations in the surface gene rendering HBsAg undetectable by commercial assays and inhibition of HBV by suppression of viral replication and viral proteins represent two fundamentally different mechanisms that lead to occult HBV infections. The molecular mechanisms underlying occult HBV infections, including recently identified mechanisms associated with the suppression of HBV replication and inhibition of HBV proteins, are reviewed in detail. The availability of highly sensitive molecular methods has led to increased detection of occult HBV infections in various clinical settings. The clinical relevance of occult HBV infection and the utility of appropriate diagnostic methods to detect occult HBV infection are discussed. The need for specific guidelines on the diagnosis and management of occult HBV infection is being increasingly recognized; the aspects of mechanistic studies that warrant further investigation are discussed in the final section.
Infections with hepatitis C virus (HCV) and, possibly, hepatitis B virus (HBV) are associated with an increased risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) in the general population, but little information is available on the relationship between hepatitis viruses and NHL among people with HIV (PHIV). We conducted a matched case–control study nested in the Swiss HIV Cohort Study (SHCS). Two hundred and ninety-eight NHL cases and 889 control subjects were matched by SHCS centre, gender, age group, CD4+ count at enrolment, and length of follow-up. Odds ratios (OR) and corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CI) were computed using logistic regression to evaluate the association between NHL and seropositivity for antibodies against HCV (anti-HCV) and hepatitis B core antigen (anti-HBc), and for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg). Anti-HCV was not associated with increased NHL risk overall (OR=1.05; 95% CI: 0.63–1.75), or in different strata of CD4+ count, age or gender. Only among men having sex with men was an association with anti-HCV found (OR=2.37; 95% CI: 1.03–5.43). No relationships between NHL risk and anti-HBc or HBsAg emerged. Coinfection with HIV and HCV or HBV did not increase NHL risk compared to HIV alone in the SHCS.
hepatitis C virus; non-Hodgkin's lymphoma; HIV; Switzerland
Hepatitis B reactivation is a well-described complication in patients with inactive chronic hepatitis B receiving chemotherapy. Screening for HBV and preemptive therapy are recommended. However, the rates of HBV screening, prophylaxis and reactivation during rituximab-containing chemotherapy are unknown.
Patients and methods
We performed a retrospective study of patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) who received rituximab between August 1997 and September 2009. We evaluated patients for hepatitis B serologies, antiviral prophylaxis and hepatitis B reactivation during or up to 6 months after chemotherapy.
One thousand four hundred twenty nine patients underwent rituximab-containing chemotherapy for NHL. Hepatitis B serologies were documented in 524 (36.6%) patients. Of these, 20 (3.8 %) were HBsAg positive and 10 (50%) experienced HBV reactivation. Only half (5/10) had HBV serology documented prior to reactivation. Only 3/8 (37.5%) of patients with newly documented HBsAg positivity received antiviral prophylaxis. Virologic breakthrough occurred in 2 of the patients on chronic therapy, in one of three inactive carriers on prophylaxis and in 2 of 5 patients not receiving prophylaxis. Reactivation developed in another 5 patients not previously screened for hepatitis B. One patient developed ALF and died. Reactivation did not occur in 25 patients with isolated positive core antibody.
At tertiary care institutions hepatitis B serologies are infrequently assessed prior to rituximab-based chemotherapy and prophylaxis is uncommon. Greater adherence to recommendations for screening and prophylaxis is necessary. This suboptimal screening rate could be even lower in community hospitals and could result in significant harm to unscreened and unprophylaxed patients.
Chemotherapy; HBV Reactivation; Hepatitis B; HBV prophylaxis; Non-Hodgkin lymphoma; Rituximab
AIM: To investigate the frequency of occult hepatitis B, the clinical course of hepatitis B virus (HBV) reactivation and reverse seroconversion and associated risk factors in autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) recipients.
METHODS: This study was conducted in 90 patients undergoing autologous HSCT. Occult HBV infection was investigated by HBV-DNA analysis prior to transplantation, while HBV serology and liver function tests were screened prior to and serially after transplantation. HBV-related events including reverse seroconversion and reactivation were recorded in all patients.
RESULTS: None of the patients had occult HBV prior to transplantation. Six (6.7%) patients were positive for HBV surface antigen (HBsAg) prior to transplantation and received lamivudine prophylaxis; they did not develop HBV reactivation after transplantation. Clinical HBV infection emerged in three patients after transplantation who had negative HBV-DNA prior to HSCT. Two of these three patients had HBV reactivation while one patient developed acute hepatitis B. Three patients had anti-HBc as the sole hepatitis B-related antibody prior to transplantation, two of whom developed hepatitis B reactivation while none of the patients with antibody to HBV surface antigen (anti-HBs) did so. The 14 anti-HBs- and/or anti-HBc-positive patients among the 90 HSCT recipients experienced either persistent (8 patients) or transient (6 patients) disappearance of anti-HBs and/or anti-HBc. HBsAg seroconversion and clinical hepatitis did not develop in these patients. Female gender and multiple myeloma emerged as risk factors for loss of antibody in regression analysis (P < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: Anti-HBc as the sole HBV marker seems to be a risk factor for reactivation after autologous HSCT. Lamivudine prophylaxis in HbsAg-positive patients continues to be effective.
Autologous stem cell transplantation; Hepatitis B reactivation; Occult hepatitis; Multiple myeloma; Lymphoma
Occult hepatitis B infection (OBI) is characterized by hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA in serum in the absence of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) presenting HBsAg-negative and anti-HBc positive serological patterns. Occult HBV status is associated in some cases with mutant viruses undetectable by HBsAg assays; but more frequently it is due to a strong suppression of viral replication and gene expression. OBI is an entity with world-wide diffusion. The failure to detect HBsAg, despite the persistence of the viral DNA, is due in most cases to the strong suppression of viral replication and gene expression that characterizes this “occult” HBV infection; although the mechanisms responsible for suppression of HBV are not well understood. The majority of OBI cases are secondary to overt HBV infection and represent a residual low viremia level suppressed by a strong immune response together with histological derangements which occurred during acute or chronic HBV infection. Much evidence suggests that it can favour the progression of liver fibrosis and the development of hepatocellular carcinoma.
Occult hepatitis B virus infection; Hepatitis B virus-DNA; Anti-HBc alone; Hepatitis B virus; Hepadnaviral hepatitis; Occult viral persistence; Primary occult infection; Secondary occult infection; Virus reactivation
In 2008, the European Association for the study of the liver (EASL) defined occult hepatitis B virus infection (OBI) as the “presence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA in the liver (with detectable or undetectable HBV DNA in the serum) of individuals testing hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) negative by currently available assays”. Several aspects of occult HBV infection are still poorly understood, including the definition itself and a standardized approach for laboratory-based detection, which is the purpose of this review. The clinical significance of OBI has not yet been established; however, in terms of public health, the clinical importance arises from the risk of HBV transmission. Consequently, it is important to detect high-risk groups for occult HBV infection to prevent transmission. The main issue is, perhaps, to identify the target population for screening OBI. Viremia is very low or undetectable in occult HBV infection, even when the most sensitive methods are used, and the detection of the viral DNA reservoir in hepatocytes would provide the best evaluation of occult HBV prevalence in a defined set of patients. However, this diagnostic approach is obviously unsuitable: blood detection of occult hepatitis B requires assays of the highest sensitivity and specificity with a lower limit of detection < 10 IU/mL for HBV DNA and < 0.1 ng/mL for HBsAg.
Occult hepatitis B virus infection; Hepatitis B surface antigen; Hepatitis B virus DNA; Anti-HBc
Co-infections of hepatitis B and C viruses are frequent with HIV due to shared routes of transmission. In most of the tertiary care health settings, HIV reactive patients are routinely tested for HBsAg and anti-HCV antibodies to rule out these co-infections. However, using the routine serological markers one can only detect active HBV infection while the occult HBV infection may be missed. There is insufficient data from India on HIV-HBV co-infection and even scarce on occult HBV infection in this group.
We estimated the burden of HBV infection in patients who were tested positive for HIV at a tertiary care centre in north India. We also attempted to determine the prevalence and clinical characteristics of occult HBV infection among these treatment-naïve patients and compare their demographic features with other HIV patients. During a period of 6 years between January 2002 to December 2007, 837 HIV positive patients (631 males and 206 females (M: F :: 3.06:1) were tested for serological markers of HBV (HBsAg) and HCV (anti-HCV antibodies) infections in our laboratory. For comparison 1000 apparently healthy, HIV-negative organ donors were also included in the study. Data on demographics, sexual behaviour, medical history, laboratory tests including the serum ALT and CD4 count of these patients were recorded. A sub-group of 53 HBsAg negative samples from HIV positive patients were assessed for anti-HBs, anti-HBc total (IgG+IgM) and HBV-DNA using a highly sensitive qualitative PCR and analysed retrospectively.
Overall, 7.28% of HIV positive patients showed presence of HBsAg as compared to 1.4% in the HIV negative control group. The prevalence of HBsAg was higher (8.55%) in males than females (3.39%). The study revealed that occult HBV infection with detectable HBV-DNA was prevalent in 24.5% of patients positive for anti-HBc antibodies; being 45.5% in HBsAg negative patients. Most importantly the occult infection was seen in 20.7% patients who were positive for anti-HBs antibodies. However, in none of the seronegative patient HBV-DNA was detected. Five of the nine HBV-DNA positive (55.6%) patients showed raised alanine aminotransferase levels and 66.7% had CD4+ T cell counts below 200 cells/cumm.
High prevalence of HIV-HBV co-infection was found in our patients. A sizeable number of co-infected patients remain undiagnosed, if only conventional serological markers are used. Presence of anti-HBs antibodies was not a reliable surrogate marker to rule out occult HBV infection. The most reliable method to diagnose occult HBV co-infection in HIV seropositive patients is the detection of HBV-DNA.
Occult hepatitis B infection (OBI) is characterized by the presence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA in the absence of HBsAg in the serum of patients. The aim of this study was to characterize HBV infection among a Piaroa community, an Amerindian group which exhibits significant evidence of exposure to HBV but relatively low presence of HBsAg, and to explore the presence of OBI in this population.
Of 150 sera, with 17% anti-HBc and 1.3% HBsAg prevalence, 70 were tested for the presence of HBV DNA. From these, 25 (36%) were found positive for HBV DNA by PCR in the core region. Two of these 25 sera were HBsAg positive, indicating an overt infection. Of the remaining 68 sera tested, 23 exhibited OBI. Of these, 13 were HBV DNA out of 25 anti-HBc positive (52%) and 10 HBV DNA positive, out of 43 anti-HBc negative (23%), with a statistical significance of p = 0.03. Viral DNA and HBsAg were present intermittently in follow up sera of 13 individuals. Sequence analysis in the core region of the amplified DNA products showed that all the strains belonged to HBV genotype F3. The OBI isolates displayed 96-100% nucleotide identity between them. One isolate exhibited the co-circulation of a wild type variant with a variant with a premature stop codon at the core protein, and a variant exhibiting a deletion of 28 amino acids.
The frequency of OBI found in this Amerindian group warrants further studies in other communities exhibiting different degrees of HBV exposure.
Hepatitis B virus; Occult infection; Amerindians
Background and Aims
The association between HLA-DP single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection varies between different populations. We aimed to study the association between HLA-DP SNPs and HBV infection and disease activity in the Chinese population of Hong Kong.
We genotyped SNPs rs3077 (near HLA-DPA1) and rs9277378 and rs3128917 (both near HLA-DPB1) in 500 HBV carriers (hepatitis B surface antigen [HBsAg]-positive), 245 non-HBV infected controls (HBsAg- and antibody to hepatitis B core protein [anti-HBc]-negative), and 259 subjects with natural HBV clearance (HBsAg-negative, anti-HBc-positive). Inactive HBV carriers state was defined by HBV DNA levels <2,000 IU/ml and persistently normal alanine aminotransferase level for least 12 months.
Compared to the non-HBV infected subjects, the HBV carriers had a significantly lower frequency of the rs3077 T allele (p = 0.0040), rs9277378 A allele (p = 0.0068) and a trend for lower frequency of rs3128917 T allele (p = 0.054). These alleles were associated with an increased chance of HBV clearance (rs3077: OR = 1.41, p = 0.0083; rs9277378: OR = 1.61, p = 0.00011; rs3128917: OR = 1.54, p = 0.00017). Significant associations between HLA-DP genotypes and HBV clearance were also found under different genetic models. Haplotype TAT was associated with an increased chance of HBV clearance (OR = 1.64, p = 0.0013). No association was found between these SNPs and HBV disease activity.
HLA-DP SNPs rs3077, rs9277378 and rs3128917 were associated with chronicity of HBV disease in the Chinese. Further studies are required to determine whether these SNPs influence the disease endemicity in different ethnic populations.
The prevalence of HIV/hepatitis B virus (HBV) co-infection in South Africa ranges from 4.8% to17% using the standard marker surface antigen (hepatitis B surface antigen, HBsAg) for chronic active HBV infection. However, sensitive molecular techniques for detecting HBV DNA in serum can detect occult HBV infection. We report the first observational prospective study of occult HBV infection in HIV-positive people in South Africa.
Five hundred and two patients attending an urban hospital were screened for HBV using serological testing for HBsAg, core antibody (anti-HBc), and surface antibody (anti-HBs). DNA was analyzed using real-time quantitative PCR to determine the HBV viral load.
Of the 502 participants, 24 (4.8%) were HBsAg- positive and 53 (10.6%) were positive for anti-HBc alone. Of these 53, screening for occult disease was carried out in 43, of whom 38 (88.4%) were positive. The mean HBV viral load was 2.8 × 104 copies/ml (range 1 ×102 to 1 × 106 copies/ml).
Combining the participants with positive HBsAg and occult HBV DNA results, the prevalence of HBV increases from 4.8% (HBsAg alone) to 12.4%. While the clinical impact of occult HBV infection is unclear, consideration should be given to changing the guidelines to recommend dual HBV therapy for the treatment of co-infected patients in the developing world.
HIV; Occult HBV; Co-infection; South Africa; Developing countries
Background and aim
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) has been postulated to be an etiological agent for lymphoid malignancies. Whereas a high prevalence of HCV infection in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) patients has been shown to exist in many geographical areas of high HCV prevalence, studies from other parts have not established any form of association. In India, there is a scarcity of data to show either a positive or a negative association between NHL and HCV infection. Therefore, we determined the prevalence of HCV infection in patients with NHL.
A total of 228 subjects were included, out of which, the number of newly diagnosed consecutive patients with lymphoproliferative disorders (NHL and CLL) were 57 [mean age, 48.7 years (range: 18–80)] and the control group consisted of 171 subjects [mean age, 48.6 years (range: 18–80)]. We used third generation enzyme immunoassay to detect HCV antibodies. HCV RNA was detected by nested RT-PCR.
Among the 57 patients of NHL, 44 (77.2%) had high-grade disease (diffuse large B cell), 6 (10.5%) intermediate-grade (follicular lymphoma), and 7 (12.3%) low-grade (small lymphocytic); 26 patients had B symptoms at diagnosis. None of the patient tested positive for antibody to hepatitis C virus (anti-HCV) while 1 patient (1.75%) tested positive for HCV RNA. Among the age- and sex- matched controls, 2 (1.17%) subjects tested positive for anti-HCV; both were also positive for HCV RNA.
HCV infection is unlikely to be associated with lymphoproliferative disorders in northern India and does not play a major role in the pathogenesis of lymphoproliferative disorders.
Hepatitis C virus; Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; Lymphomagenesis
The characteristics of 30 carriers with occult hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection (OBI) were compared with those of 30 individuals diagnosed as being HBV carriers at the time of blood donation, 60 asymptomatic carriers, and 60 chronic hepatitis patients. The prevalence of genotype C was significantly higher in carriers with OBIs than in any other HBsAg-positive (HBsAg+) group (P < 0.001). Specific amino acid substitutions in the regions from amino acids 117 to 121 and amino acids 144 to 147 located in the major hydrophilic region of the S gene were associated with carriers with OBIs (P < 0.01 for carriers with OBIs versus HBsAg+ donors, carriers with OBIs versus HBsAg+ asymptomatic carriers, and carriers with OBIs versus HBsAg+ chronic hepatitis patients). G145R was the major variation in the HBV isolates responsible for local occult HBV infections.
Occult hepatitis B infection (OBI) is defined as long-lasting persistence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA in the liver of patients with hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)-negative status, with or without serological markers of previous exposure (antibodies to HBsAg and/or to hepatitis B core antigen). Over the past two decades, significant progress has been made in understanding OBI and its clinical implications. OBI as a cause of chronic liver disease in patients with HBsAg-negative status is becoming an important disease entity. In conditions of immunocompetence, OBI is inoffensive in itself and detection of HBV DNA in the liver does not always indicate active hepatitis. However, when other factors that cause liver damage, such as hepatitis C virus infection, obesity and alcohol abuse are present, the minimal lesions produced by the immunological response to OBI might worsen the clinical course of the underlying liver disease. Several lines of evidence suggest that OBI is associated with progression of liver fibrosis and the development of hepatocellular carcinoma in patients with chronic liver disease. The major interest in OBI is primarily associated with the growing, widely discussed evidence of its clinical impact. The aim of this review is to highlight recent data for OBI, with a major focus on disease progression or carcinogenesis in patients with chronic liver disease.
hepatitis B virus; occult hepatitis B infection; chronic liver disease; carcinogenesis; clinical outcome
Occult hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection (OBI) is frequently reported in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. An association between OBI and more liver damage, cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, and reduced response to interferon therapy in patients with HCV infection is suggested.
The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of occult HBV, and evaluate its clinical influence on patients with chronic HCV.
Patients and Methods
A cohort study including50 patients with positive results for HCV, and negative results for HBsAg tests was performed. The patients were divided into two groups: one group had positive results for both HCV and occult HBV tests (n = 18), and the other had positive results for HCV, but negative findings for occult HBV (n = 32). All were treated with PEG-IFN alpha-2a and Ribavirin. Presence of HCV RNA was followed in these patients.
HBV-DNA was detected using nested-PCR in 20% of plasma and 32.6% of peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) compartments. No significant differences were observed between patients with and without occult HBV for sex, age, duration of HCV infection, histological markers, presence of anti-HBc, HCV viral load, and HCV genotype. The response rate was significantly higher in patients with positive results for HBV-DNA test compared to those with negative findings (100% vs. 71.9 %, P < 0.05).
In conclusion, occult HBV was found in 36% of patients with negative results for HBsAg, but positive results for HCV. Detection of HBV-DNA in both PBMCs and plasma together in comparison with plasma alone provided more true identification of OBI.The SVR rate was significantly higher in coinfected patients than mono-infected ones.
Hepatitis B; Hepatitis C Virus; Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cell
The implementation of mass vaccinations against hepatitis B virus (HBV) has significantly reduced the prevalence of HBsAg-positive subjects. At the same time, the prevalence of the other markers of infection has decreased, but there has been an increase in the percentage of subjects with markers of a successful vaccination. It has been suggested that increasing immigration from countries in which this virus is highly endemic is changing the epidemiology of HBV infection. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of the serological markers of HBV in Italian and non-Italian HBsAg-negative subjects.
Materials and methods.
In the years 2007–2008, 8,018 samples from HBsAg-negative subjects (7,521 Italians and 497 non-Italians) were received for detection of anti-HBs and/or anti-HBc. The findings in the 1,358 samples from candidate blood donors were compared with those obtained in 1991 and 1999.
The rate of anti-HBc positivity was 18.3% in the Italian samples and 32.8% in the non-Italian samples; the corresponding percentages of anti-HBs/anti-HBc positive samples (indicating past infection), anti-HBs positive only samples (vaccination) and anti-HBc positive only were, 11.3% vs. 22.5%, 25.8% vs. 17.2%, and 6.9% vs. 9.9% in Italians and non-Italians, respectively. The differences were more marked when stratified by age. In relation to candidate blood donors, simultaneous positivity for anti-HBs and anti-HBc decreased from 11.0% in 1991 to 8.1% in 1999 and 3.9% in 2007–2008, whereas isolated anti-HBs positivity increased from 2.2% in 1991 to 21.4% in 1999 and 42.9% in 2007–2008.
The frequency of markers of past infection among Italians has decreased over time as a result of mass vaccination and is significantly lower than that observed in non-Italians. The increasing number of immigrants from countries in which HBV is highly endemic is changing the epidemiology of HBV infection in Italy.
HBV vaccination; epidemiology; HBV markers
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) genotypes were examined in HIV-infected patients with chronic and occult HBV infection. From a total population of 593 HIV-infected patients, 22 individuals (prevalence 3.7%) were found to be HBsAg while 72 (12.1%) were found to be anti-HBc alone. From them, 20 and 4 were HBV DNA positive, respectively. These last four patients are therefore considered to be HBV infected in an occult form. The genotypes could be determined in all 24 HBV-infected patients. HBV-A was the most common (20/24; 83.3%), followed by HBV-D (2/24; 8.3%) and HBV-F (1/24; 4.2%). The remaining sample exhibited mixed infection involving genotypes A and D as pure ones, thus also forming part of three intergenotypic recombinant forms exhibiting different mosaic S gene patterns. The sexual route of transmission was predominant among HBV genotype A-infected patients. Among the 24 HBV DNA-positive patients, point mutations related to lamivudine resistance were found in four strains. These viral strains showed a methionine-to-valine substitution at codon 204 (rtM204V) in association with an upstream B-domain change at rtL180M. Additionally, two of them exhibited the additional rtV173L mutation. The value of HBV molecular monitoring including both HBV viral genomic characterization and genotypic resistance profile in HIV-HBV-coinfected individuals is discussed.
AIM: To investigate the associations of hepatitis B virus (HBV) genotype with HBeAg and anti-HBe status, alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels and HBV-DNA detection in different groups of HBV-infected patients in southwest Iran.
METHODS: A total of 89 HBsAg-positive serum samples were collected from the same number of patients. All sera were then investigated to determine HBV DNA and serological markers. For all the polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-positive samples, biochemical, histopathological assays and genotyping were also performed.
RESULTS: Genotype D was the only type of HBV found in different clinical forms of acute and chronic infections. There was a high prevalence of HBeAg-negative HBV-infected patients with chronic hepatitis (52.7%). Out of 55 patients with chronic hepatitis, seven (12.7%) were diagnosed with cirrhosis. A significant association between the presence of anti-HBe antibody and an increase in ALT level, among either HBeAg-negative (P = 0.01) or HBeAg-positive (P = 0.026) patients, was demonstrated. No significant differences were observed between the clinical outcomes of HBeAg-positive and -negative individuals (P = 0.24).
CONCLUSION: Genotype D has been recognized as the only type of HBV found in different clinical forms of HBV infections, including cirrhosis, among the residents of southwest Iran. Anti-HBe possibly plays a role in disease progression in some patients with chronic hepatitis, at least for a period of disease.
Hepatitis B virus-D; Cirrhosis; Iran; Anti-HBe; Polymerase chain reaction
Occult hepatitis B virus (O-HBV) infection is characterized by the presence of HBV DNA without detectable hepatitis B surface antigen (HBV DNA+/HBsAg−) in the serum. Although O-HBV is more prevalent during HBV/HIV co-infection, analysis of HBV mutations in co-infected patients is limited. In this preliminary study, HBV PreSurface (PreS) and surface (S) regions were amplified from 33 HIV-positive patient serum samples − 27 chronic HBV (C-HBV) and six O-HBV infections. HBV genotype was determined by phylogenetic analysis, while quasispecies diversity was quantified for the PreS, S and overlapping polymerase regions. C-HBV infections harboured genotypes A, D and G, compared to A, E, G and one mixed A/G infection for O-HBV. Interestingly, nonsynonymous-synonymous mutation values indicated positive immune selection in three regions for O-HBV vs one for CHBV. Sequence analysis further identified new O-HBV mutations, in addition to several previously reported mutations within the HBsAg antigenic determinant. Several of these O-HBV mutations likely contribute to the lack of detectable HBsAg in O-HBV infection by interfering with detection in serologic assays, altering antigen secretion and/or decreasing replicative fitness.
diversity; HBV polymerase; HBV/HIV co-infection; hepatitis B surface antigen; occult hepatitis B virus
The association between hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (NHL) has been demonstrated by epidemiological studies, in particular in highly endemic geographical areas such as Italy, Japan, and southern parts of United States. In these countries, together with diffuse large B-cell lymphomas, marginal zone lymphomas are the histotypes most frequently associated with HCV infection; in Italy around 20–30% cases of marginal zone lymphomas are HCV positive. Recently, antiviral treatment with interferon with or without ribavirin has been proved to be effective in the treatment of HCV-positive patients affected by indolent lymphoma, prevalently of marginal zone origin. An increasing number of experiences confirmed the validity of this approach in marginal zone lymphomas and in other indolent NHL subtypes like lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma. Across different studies, overall response rate was approximately 75%. Hematological responses resulted significantly associated with the eradication of the virus. This is the strongest evidence of a causative link between HCV and lymphomas. The aim of this paper is to illustrate the relationship between HCV infection and different subtypes of indolent B-cell lymphomas and to systematically summarize the data from the therapeutic studies that reported the use of antiviral treatment as hematological therapy in patients with HCV-associated indolent lymphomas.