Beneficial effect of lamivudine in recurrent hepatitis B after liver transplantation

Ziv Ben-Ari, Dan Shmueli, Eitan Mor, Zaki Shapira, Ran Tur-Kaspa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) in patients infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV) is known to be associated with a high recurrence rate and poor prognosis. Interferon treatment in these patients offers little benefit and may lead to further complications. Lamivudine, the (-)enantiomer of 3'-thiacytidine, a 2'3'-dideoxynucleoside, is known to be a potent inhibitor of HBV replication in patients with chronic HBV infection. Three HBV-positive OLT patients were administrated lamivudine, 100 mg x 1 orally, for a period of at least 20 weeks, in an open, compassionate-use basis. All three patients were HBV DNA-negative before OLT. HBV reinfection occurred at a median time of 7 months (range, 6-9 months) after OLT, in spite of adequate immunoprophylaxis. All three patients had high serum transaminase levels (alanine aminotransferase [ALT], 103-324 U/L) and histologic evidence of recurrent HBV infection of the grafted liver, and HBV DNA was evident in the sera of all of them. Six weeks after lamivudine treatment, HBV DNA disappeared from the serum of all patients (detected by hybridization); by the 10th week, HBV DNA was also negative by polymerase chain reaction in two out of three patients. Interestingly, the one patient who was HBV DNA positive by polymerase chain reaction still has mildly elevated ALT levels, whereas the other two patients have normal ALT levels. We also noted that on the 5th week there was a transient elevation of serum ALT levels in two patients. No adverse effects or rejection episodes were noted. In conclusion, lamivudine is a beneficial and well-tolerated therapy in OLT patients with recurrent HBV infection. We are studying the effect of lamivudine in other patients and for a longer period of time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-396
Number of pages4
Issue number3
StatePublished - 15 Feb 1997
Externally publishedYes


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