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Leuk Lymphoma. 2005 Jul;46(7):1085-9.

Fatal reactivation of hepatitis B post-chemotherapy for lymphoma in a hepatitis B surface antigen-negative, hepatitis B core antibody-positive patient: potential implications for future prophylaxis recommendations.

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Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


In the absence of prophylaxis, the reactivation of hepatitis B in oncology patients who are hepatitis B carriers is a well-known and often fatal complication of chemotherapy. The current recommendations in Canada and the USA are that patients who are positive for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) receive antiviral prophylaxis prior to chemotherapy. We report a 67-year-old man with B-cell lymphoma who developed hepatitis B reactivation following chemotherapy with cyclophosphamide, adriamycin, vincristine, prednisone and rituximab. Pre-chemotherapy, the patient was negative for HBsAg, positive for hepatitis B core antibody (anti-HBc) and weakly positive for hepatitis B surface antibody. Despite treatment with lamivudine, the patient died of fulminant hepatic failure. Our experience indicates that patients who are negative for HBsAg but positive for anti-HBc are still at risk for reactivation of latent hepatitis B during and after chemotherapy and may be considered for prophylaxis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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