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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2007 Nov 1;69(3):813-9. Epub 2007 May 24.

Hepatitis B virus reactivation after three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy in patients with hepatitis B virus-related hepatocellular carcinoma.

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Center for Liver Cancer, National Cancer Center, Goyang, Gyeonggi 411-764, South Korea.



To investigate whether three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy (3D-CRT) influences hepatitis B virus (HBV) reactivation and chronic hepatitis B (CHB) exacerbation in patients with HBV-related hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).


Of the 48 HCC patients with HBV who underwent 3D-CRT to the liver, 16 underwent lamivudine therapy before and during 3D-CRT (Group 1) and 32 did not receive antiviral therapy before 3D-CRT (Group 2). To analyze spontaneous HBV reactivation, we included a control group of 43 HCC patients who did not receive any specific treatment for HCC or CHB.


The cumulative rate of radiation-induced liver disease for Groups 1 and 2 was 12.5% (2 of 16) and 21.8% (7 of 32), respectively (p > 0.05). The cumulative rate of HBV reactivation was significantly greater in Group 2 (21.8%, 7 of 32) than in Group 1 (0%, 0/16) or the control group (2.3%, 1 of 43; p < 0.05 each). The cumulative rate of CHB exacerbation, however, did not differ significantly between Groups 2 (12.5%, 4 of 32) and 1 (0%, 0 of 16) or the control group (2.3%, 1 of 43; p > 0.05 each). The CHB exacerbations in the 4 Group 2 patients had radiation-induced liver disease features but were differentiated by serum HBV DNA changes. Two of these patients required antiviral therapy and effectively recovered with lamivudine therapy.


In patients with HBV-related HCC undergoing 3D-CRT, HBV reactivation and consequent CHB exacerbation should be considered in the differential diagnosis of radiation-induced liver disease, and antiviral therapy might be considered for the prevention of liver function deterioration after RT.

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