2Department of Gastroenterology, Ege University School of Medicine, Turkey
3Department of Gastroenterology, Kütahya University of Health Sciences, Turkey
4Department of Microbiology and Clinical Microbiology, Ege University School of Medicine, Turkey
Background and Aim: We aimed to evaluate the long-term presence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA in liver grafts of liver transplant patients who received hepatitis B immunoglobulin (HBIg) plus oral antiviral hepatitis B virus prophylaxis and had negative serum markers of HBV.
Material and Methods: Patients aged 18 years or older who underwent liver transplantation for HBV-related liver disease, had negative serum viral markers and had a liver biopsy at least 3 years after liver transplantation were eligible for this study. Clinical, serological and pathological data were retrospectively obtained from medical records. HBV DNA in liver biopsy specimens was assessed using the polymerase chain reaction technique.
Results: A total of 150 patients were included. HBV DNA was positive in 18 (12%) of the liver biopsies. The presence of intrahepatic HBV DNA was not associated with pre-transplantation serum viral markers, types of pre- and post-transplantation antiviral treatment or post-transplantation immunosuppressive treatment.
Conclusion: Our findings suggest that after treatment with HBIg plus oral antiviral as post-transplantation HBV prophylaxis, a considerable percentage of patients may have persistent HBV DNA in their grafts; however, the presence of HBV DNA in liver grafts may not be related to clinical HBV recurrence.