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Lamivudine, an Effective Prophylactic Treatment Against HBV Reactivation in Breast Cancer Patients

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Prevention of hepatitis B virus related complication in breast cancer patients during chemotherapy

In parts of Asia, about 10% of the population has chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. Breast cancer patients who are HBV carriers are frequently complicated by HBV reactivation while receiving cytotoxic chemotherapy. The condition may result in varying degrees of liver damage, causing disruption in chemotherapy and compromising the patients’ prognosis. With the increasing use of chemotherapy paralleling the rise in breast cancer incidence, the occurrence of HBV reactivation is likely to further increase. Recent reports have suggested that the anti-viral agent, lamivudine, may reduce HBV reactivation and its associated morbidity.In this study, researchers studied the role of lamivudine in preventing HBV reactivation and its associated morbidity in breast cancer patients with chronic HBV infection who were planned for chemotherapy. Two groups were studied. One group consisted of 31 patients who received ‘prophylactic lamivudine’ prior to and until 8 weeks after discontinuing chemotherapy. The other comprised of 61 historical controls who underwent chemotherapy without prophylactic lamivudine. The outcomes, in terms of the efficacy of lamivudine in reducing the incidence of HBV reactivation, and diminishing morbidity during chemotherapy were compared.In the prophylactic lamivudine group, there was significantly fewer incidences of hepatitis (12.9 vs 59.0%, p<0.001), less HBV reactivation (6.5 vs 31.1%, p=0.008), and less disruption of chemotherapy (16.1% vs 45.9%, p= 0.006), despite a significantly higher proportion receiving anthracyclines.Researchers concluded that prophylactic lamivudine significantly reduces the incidence of HBV reactivation and the overall morbidity of breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.If you would like more information on the HOTT congress please contact our office on (08) 9388 0344 or email us at

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Posted On: 5 January, 2005
Modified On: 16 January, 2014


Created by: myVMC