Hepatitis B virus (HBV) reactivation is well documented in previously resolved or inactive HBV carriers who receive cancer chemotherapy. The consequences of HBV reactivation range from self-limited conditions to fulminant hepatic failure and death. HBV reactivation also leads to premature termination of chemotherapy or delay in treatment schedules. This review summarizes current knowledge of management of HBV reactivation in patients receiving cancer chemotherapy. HBV surface antigen (HBsAg) testing should be performed in patients who require cancer chemotherapy. Four meta-analyses support lamivudine prophylaxis for HBV reactivation during chemotherapy in HBsAg-positive patients. Randomized controlled trials to compare different HBV antiviral agents are needed to define optimal regimens for the prevention and treatment of HBV reactivation in patients receiving cancer chemotherapy.
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