Published online Nov 14, 2015. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v21.i42.12091
Peer-review started: May 4, 2015
First decision: July 20, 2015
Revised: August 22, 2015
Accepted: September 30, 2015
Article in press: September 30, 2015
Published online: November 14, 2015
Hepatitis B is a common yet serious infectious disease of the liver, affecting millions of people worldwide. Liver transplantation is the only possible treatment for those who advance to end-stage liver disease. Donors positive for hepatitis B virus (HBV) core antibody (HBcAb) have previously been considered unsuitable for transplants. However, those who test negative for the more serious hepatitis B surface antigen can now be used as liver donors, thereby reducing organ shortages. Remarkable improvements have been made in the treatment against HBV, most notably with the development of nucleoside analogues (NAs), which markedly lessen cirrhosis and reduce post-transplantation HBV recurrence. However, HBV recurrence still occurs in many patients following liver transplantation due to the development of drug resistance and poor compliance with therapy. Optimized prophylactic treatment with appropriate NA usage is crucial prior to liver transplantation, and undetectable HBV DNA at the time of transplantation should be achieved. NA-based and hepatitis B immune globulin-based treatment regimens can differ between patients depending on the patients’ condition, virus status, and presence of drug resistance. This review focuses on the current progress in applying NAs during the perioperative period of liver transplantation and the prophylactic strategies using NAs to prevent de novo HBV infection in recipients of HBcAb-positive liver grafts.
Core tip: Hepatitis B virus (HBV)-related end-stage liver disease is a common indication for liver transplant. This review discusses application of nucleoside analogues (NAs) for patients on liver transplant waiting lists, as well as the preventive and therapeutic strategies of NAs for HBV recurrence post-transplantation. The prophylactic role of NAs for recipients of livers from HBV core antibody-positive donors is also discussed. This review will help physicians and surgeons improve management of HBV-related liver transplant patients.