Association of lamivudine resistance in recurrent hepatitis B after liver transplantation with advanced hepatic fibrosis

Ziv Ben-Ari*, Orit Pappo, Romy Zemel, Eitan Mor, Ran Tur-Kaspa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. Orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) in patients with hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is known to be associated with a high recurrence rate and poor prognosis. Lamivudine, a nucleoside analogue, is a potent inhibitor of HBV replication, but it is associated with a 14-39% rate of resistance. Methods. We report on four patients who underwent OLT for HBV infection. In all cases, the HBV infection recurred in the grafted liver and was treated with lamivudine (100 mg daily) on a compassionate-use basis. The patients were monitored closely for serum liver enzymes, hepatitis B surface antigen and HBV DNA (by hybridization). Liver biopsy was performed before and after lamivudine therapy. HBV DNA was amplified from serum for each patient and sequenced through a conserved polymerase domain, the tyrosine-methionine- aspartate-aspartate (YMDD) locus. Results. All four patients exhibited lamivudine resistance 9-20 months after initiation of the drug. In all patients with a clinically mild disease, liver histology findings (12-24 months after lamivudine therapy) showed progressive fibrosis as compared to biopsies performed before lamivudine therapy, with a significant increase (≥2 points) in the Knodell score in three patients. Moreover, two patients exhibited worsening of the necroinflammatory process. A mutation at the YMDD motif of the HBV polymerase gene was detected in all cases. Conclusions. Lamivudine resistance frequently occurs in patients with recurrent HBV infection after OLT and is associated with advanced hepatic fibrosis and necroinflammatory process. A combination of antiviral therapies may be necessary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)232-236
Number of pages5
Issue number2
StatePublished - 27 Jul 1999


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