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1.  Cohort study of non-Hodgkin lymphoma risk in association with hepatitis B virus infection in South Korea 
The lancet oncology  2010;11(9):827-834.
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.
PMCID: PMC2933963  PMID: 20688564
2.  Concurrent Infection of Hepatitis B Virus Negatively Affects the Clinical Outcome and Prognosis of Patients with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma after Chemotherapy 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e69400.
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.
PMCID: PMC3704665  PMID: 23861969
3.  The prophylactic use of lamivudine can maintain dose-intensity of adriamycin in hepatitis-B surface antigen (HBs Ag)-positive patients with Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma who receive cytotoxic chemotherapy. 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2003;18(6):849-854.
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.
PMCID: PMC3055150  PMID: 14676442
4.  Management of the HBV reactivation in isolated HBcAb positive patients affected with Non Hodgkin Lymphoma 
BMC Gastroenterology  2014;14:31.
Occult HBV infection (OBI) is defined by the persistence of HBV in the liver without serum HBsAg and HBVDNA. It represents a life-threatening event during immunosuppressive chemotherapies. An OBI occurs in approximately 18% of HBcAb + patients. International guidelines suggest surveillance for HBV markers in immunosuppressed patients. In Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL), the prevalence of OBI reactivation remains to be established.
In order to determine the prevalence of occult HBV reactivation in a large cohort of patients during chemotherapy for NHL, we analysed 498 NHL patients in a centre of Southern Italy. We evaluated HBV markers, NHL type, treatment type and occurrence of HBV reactivation.
Forty % of patients were treated with monoclonal antibodies and 60.3% without. Ninety-six patients were HBcAb+, HBsAg-. HBV reactivation occurred in ten subjects of this subgroup. All of them were successfully treated with Lamivudine. None of the patients experienced liver-related death. The prevalence of OBI reactivation was of 10.42% in HBcAb + HBsAb- patients. This event occurred in 50% of patients treated with mild immunosuppressive therapies. Each reactivation was treated with Lamivudine.
This report suggests that a strict surveillance is important and cost-effective in HBcAb + HBsAg- NHL patients treated with mild immunosuppressive therapies, in order to detect an occult HBV reactivation.
PMCID: PMC3938973  PMID: 24533834
Occult HBV infection; Non Hodgkin Lymphoma; HBV reactivation; Immunosuppression
5.  Hepatitis C virus and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma: findings from the Swiss HIV Cohort Study 
British Journal of Cancer  2006;95(11):1598-1602.
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.
PMCID: PMC2360727  PMID: 17106439
hepatitis C virus; non-Hodgkin's lymphoma; HIV; Switzerland
6.  Long-term Outcome after Prophylactic Lamivudine Treatment on Hepatitis B Virus Reactivation in Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma 
Yonsei Medical Journal  2007;48(1):78-89.
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.
PMCID: PMC2627995  PMID: 17326249
HBV reactivation; lamivudine; non-Hodgkin's lymphoma; chemotherapy; HBeAg
7.  Hepatitis B Screening, Prophylaxis and Reactivation in the Era of Rituximab-based Chemotherapy 
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.
PMCID: PMC3736143  PMID: 20738779
Chemotherapy; HBV Reactivation; Hepatitis B; HBV prophylaxis; Non-Hodgkin lymphoma; Rituximab
8.  Occult hepatitis B virus infection: A complex entity with relevant clinical implications 
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.
PMCID: PMC3070120  PMID: 21472115
Hepatitis B virus; Occult infection; Persistent infection
9.  Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Occult Hepatitis B Virus Infection 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2012;25(1):142-163.
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.
PMCID: PMC3255968  PMID: 22232374
10.  Fatal Hepatitis B Reactivation Treated With Entecavir in an Isolated Anti-HBs Positive Lymphoma Patient: A Case Report and Literature Review 
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.
PMCID: PMC3409890  PMID: 22824772
Anti-HBs positive; entecavir; hepatitis B virus; lymphoma; reactivation
11.  Hepatitis B-related events in autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation recipients 
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.
PMCID: PMC2852826  PMID: 20380010
Autologous stem cell transplantation; Hepatitis B reactivation; Occult hepatitis; Multiple myeloma; Lymphoma
12.  Pathogenesis of occult chronic hepatitis B virus infection 
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.
PMCID: PMC3070123  PMID: 21472118
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
13.  Role of HLA-DP Polymorphisms on Chronicity and Disease Activity of Hepatitis B Infection in Southern Chinese 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e66920.
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.
PMCID: PMC3692552  PMID: 23825586
14.  Occult hepatitis B virus and hepatocellular carcinoma 
Occult hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection (OBI) is a challenging pathobiological and clinical issue that has been widely debated for several decades. By definition, OBI is characterized by the persistence of HBV DNA in the liver tissue (and in some cases also in the serum) in the absence of circulating HBV surface antigen (HBsAg). Many epidemiological and molecular studies have indicated that OBI is an important risk factor for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development. OBI may exert direct pro-oncogenic effects through the activation of the same oncogenic mechanisms that are activated in the course of an HBsAg-positive infection. Indeed, in OBI as in HBV-positive infection, HBV DNA can persist in the hepatocytes both integrated into the host genome as well as free episome, and may maintain the capacity to produce proteins-mainly X protein and truncated preS-S protein - provided with potential transforming properties. Furthermore, OBI may indirectly favor HCC development. It has been shown that the persistence of very low viral replicative activity during OBI may induce mild liver necro-inflammation continuing for life, and substantial clinical evidence indicates that OBI can accelerate the progression of liver disease towards cirrhosis that is considered the most important risk factor for HCC development.
PMCID: PMC4033435  PMID: 24876718
Hepatitis B virus; Hepatitis B virus surface antigen; Hepatitis B virus DNA; HBx protein; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Occult hepatitis B virus infection
15.  Prevalence of Occult Hepatitis B Virus in Plasma and Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cell Compartments of Patients With Chronic Hepatitis C Infection in Tehran-Iran 
Hepatitis Monthly  2013;13(5):e10134.
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.
PMCID: PMC3741907  PMID: 23967017
Hepatitis B; Hepatitis C Virus; Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cell
16.  Hepatitis C virus infection among patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in northern India 
Hepatology International  2011;5(2):688-692.
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.
PMCID: PMC3090557  PMID: 21484139
Hepatitis C virus; Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; Lymphomagenesis
17.  Epidemiology and Molecular Characterization of Hepatitis B Virus Infection in Isolated Villages in the Western Brazilian Amazon 
Individuals from three isolated, rural communities in the western Brazilian Amazon were evaluated for serological markers of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, HBV genotype, and the presence of risk factors for infection and transmission. Of the 225 individuals studied, 79.1% had serological evidence of HBV infection; 10.2% individuals were chronic carriers for HBV surface antigen (HBsAg-positive). Analysis of risk factors indicates that HBV is transmitted mainly horizontally within the family from a chronic “active” carrier for hepatitis B “e” antigen (HBeAg-positive), though a strong possibility of vertical transmission remains. The predominance of HBV genotype F, with a higher genomic similarity between the isolates, indicated a relatively recent introduction of HBV, from a common source, to the area. This study sheds light on the HBV epidemiology in the Brazilian Amazon region and highlights the need for greater emphasis on HBV control and immunization programs.
PMCID: PMC3516333  PMID: 22908032
18.  Association between metabolic factors and chronic hepatitis B virus infection 
There are limited data regarding the relationship between chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and metabolic factors. This article aims to highlight the link of metabolic factors with hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) serostatus, HBV load, and HBV-related hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Although HBsAg-positive serostatus was positively correlated with a high risk of metabolic syndrome in students, chronic HBV-infected individuals have high serum adiponectin levels. The androgen pathway in HBV carriers with a low body mass index is more triggered which leads to enhanced HBV replication. High HBV load was inversely associated with obesity in hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg)-seropositive HBV carriers; while in HBeAg-seronegative HBV carriers, high HBV load was inversely related to hypertriglyceridemia rather than obesity. For overweight and obese HBV-infected patients, high HBV load was positively associated with serum adiponectin levels. Several large cohort studies have revealed a positive link of diabetes with incidence of HBV-related HCC. However, the association between incidence of HCC and metabolic factors other than diabetes is still inconclusive. More long-term prospective studies should elucidate the association of chronic HBV infection and its outcomes with metabolic factors in clinical practice.
PMCID: PMC4064066  PMID: 24966591
Hepatitis B surface antigen; Hepatitis B viral load; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Diabetes; Obesity; Adiponectin
19.  Indolent B-Cell Lymphomas Associated with HCV Infection: Clinical and Virological Features and Role of Antiviral Therapy 
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.
PMCID: PMC3432550  PMID: 22956970
20.  Diagnostic strategy for occult hepatitis B virus infection 
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.
PMCID: PMC3070125  PMID: 21472120
Occult hepatitis B virus infection; Hepatitis B surface antigen; Hepatitis B virus DNA; Anti-HBc
21.  Occult Hepatitis B Virus infection in ART-Naive HIV-Infected Patients seen at a Tertiary Care Centre in North India 
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.
PMCID: PMC2848043  PMID: 20205948
22.  Molecular Signature in HCV-Positive Lymphomas 
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a positive, single-stranded RNA virus, which has been associated to different subtypes of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (B-NHL). Cumulative evidence suggests an HCV-related antigen driven process in the B-NHL development. The underlying molecular signature associated to HCV-related B-NHL has to date remained obscure. In this review, we discuss the recent developments in this field with a special mention to different sets of genes whose expression is associated with BCR coupled to Blys signaling which in turn was found to be linked to B-cell maturation stages and NF-κb transcription factor. Even if recent progress on HCV-B-NHL signature has been made, the precise relationship between HCV and lymphoma development and phenotype signature remain to be clarified.
PMCID: PMC3431075  PMID: 22952554
23.  Antibodies to hepatitis B surface antigen prevent viral reactivation in recipients of liver grafts from anti-HBC positive donors 
Gut  2002;50(1):95-99.
Background and aims: Liver donors with serological evidence of resolved hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection (HBV surface antigen (HBsAg) negative, anti-HBV core (HBc) positive) can transmit HBV infection to recipients. In the context of organ shortage, we investigated the efficacy of hepatitis B immunoglobulin (HBIG) to prevent HBV infection, and assessed the infectious risk by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing for HBV DNA on serum and liver tissue of anti-HBc positive donors.
Patients: Between 1997 and 2000, 22 of 315 patients were transplanted with liver allografts from anti-HBc positive donors. Long term HBIG therapy was administered to 16 recipients. Four naive and two vaccinated patients received no prophylaxis.
Results: Hepatitis B developed in the four HBV naive recipients without prophylaxis and in none of the vaccinated subjects. Among the 16 recipients receiving HBIG, one patient with residual anti-HBs titres below 50 UI/ml became HBsAg positive. The remaining 15 remained HBsAg negative and HBV DNA negative by PCR testing throughout a 20 month (range 4–39) follow up period. HBV DNA was detected by PCR in 1/22 donor serum, and in 11/21 liver grafts with normal histology. A mean of 12 months post-transplantation (range 1–23) HBV DNA was no longer detectable in graft biopsies from patients remaining HBsAg negative.
Conclusion: Anti-HBs antibodies may control HBV replication in liver grafts from anti-HBc positive donors, without additional antiviral drugs. These grafts are thus suitable either to effectively vaccinated recipients or to those who are given HBIG to prevent HBV recurrence.
PMCID: PMC1773074  PMID: 11772974
hepatitis B virus; anti-hepatitis B virus core; liver transplantation; hepatitis B virus infection; liver grafts
24.  Unusual presentation of hepatitis B serological markers in an Amerindian community of Venezuela with a majority of occult cases 
Virology Journal  2011;8:527.
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.
PMCID: PMC3253065  PMID: 22152023
Hepatitis B virus; Occult infection; Amerindians
25.  Hepatitis B surface antigen seroconversion after HBV reactivation in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma 
Reactivation of hepatitis B virus (HBV) can occur in lymphoma patients infected with HBV when they receive chemotherapy or immunotherapy. Prophylactic administration of lamivudine (LAM) reduces the morbidity and mortality associated with HBV reactivation. However, what defines HBV reactivation and the optimal duration of treatment with LAM have not yet been clearly established. HBV reactivation may occur due to the cessation of prophylactic LAM, although re-treatment with nucleoside analogs may sometimes result in hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) seroconversion, which is a satisfactory endpoint for the management of HBV infection. We report a case of HBV reactivation in a 68-year-old HBsAg-positive patient who received rituximab-based immunochemotherapy for follicular lymphoma. HBV reactivation developed following cessation of prophylactic LAM therapy. The patient subsequently received treatment with entecavir (ETV), which led to a rapid and sustained suppression of HBV replication and HBsAg seroconversion. We also appraised the literature concerning HBV reactivation and the role of ETV in the management of HBV reactivation in lymphoma patients. A total of 28 cases of HBV reactivation have been reported as having been treated with ETV during or after immunosuppressive chemotherapy in lymphoma patients. We conclude that ETV is an efficacious and safe treatment for HBV reactivation following LAM cessation in lymphoma patients treated with rituximab-based immunochemotherapy.
PMCID: PMC4009558  PMID: 24803836
Hepatitis B surface antigen; Seroconversion; Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; Rituximab; Entecavir

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