by Ting-Jung Wu, Tse-Ching Chen, Frank Wang, Kun-Ming Chan, Ruey-Shyang Soong, Hong-Shiue Chou, Wei-Chen Lee, Chau-Ting Yeh
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) associated end-stage liver diseases are the leading causes of liver transplantation (LT) in Taiwan. Relapse of hepatitis B occurs after LT, raising the risk of graft failure and reducing patient survival. Although several oral antiviral agents have been approved for anti-HBV treatment, lamivudine (LAM) remained to be the most widely used preventive regimen in Taiwan. While several clinical predictors have been identified for hepatitis B relapse, the predictive roles of the histopathological characteristics in liver explants as well as the genotypic features of the viruses in pre-LT serum samples have not been assessed. Between September 2002 and August 2009, 150 consecutive hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) positive patients undergoing LT were included for outcome analysis following assessment of the clinicopathological and virological factors prior to LT. Kaplan-Meier analyses discovered that pre-operative LAM treatment =3 months; membranous distribution and higher expression of tissue HBsAg in liver explants; preoperative viral load ?106 copies/ml; and presence of large fragment (>100 base pairs) pre-S deletion (LFpreSDel) correlated significantly with hepatitis B relapse. Multivariate Cox regression analysis showed that the presence of LFpreSDel (P?=?0.001) and viral load ?106 copies/mL (P?=?0.023) were independent predictors for hepatitis B relapse. In conclusion, besides high viral load, LFpreSDel mutation is an important independent predictor for hepatitis B relapse after LT. More aggressive preventive strategies should be applied for patients carrying these risk factors.