Chinese study shows entecavir preventing hepatitus B in chemotherapy patients

A recent study conducted at Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center in China found that lymphoma patients undergoing chemotherapy with the drug entecavir had a lower incidence of acquiring hepatitis B.

Findings of the randomized study, which took place from February 2008 through December 2012 at 10 centers in China and included 121 patients, were published in Thursday's issue of JAMA.

Hepatitis B is a common chemo complication, with side effects ranging from liver failure to delays or termination in chemo treatment.

Dr. He Huang and colleagues at the center assigned the 121 patients seropositive for the hepatitis B surface antigen with untreated diffuse large B-cell lymphoma receiving chemo with rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine and prednisone to either entecavir (61 patients) or lamivudine (60 patients).

The individuals were administered these drugs one week before the initiation of the prednisone treatment through six months after chemo was completed.

The date of the last patient follow-up was May 25, 2013. The researchers found that the rates were significantly lower for the entecavir group versus the lamivudine group for hepatitis (8.2 percent vs. 23.3 percent), HBV-related hepatitis (0 percent vs. 13.3 percent), HBV reactivation (6.6 percent vs. 30 percent), delayed hepatitis B (0 percent vs. 8.3 percent) and chemotherapy interruption (1.6 percent vs. 18.3 percent).

Of the patients in the entecavir group, approximately 25 percent (24.6) experienced treatment-related adverse events compared to 30 percent in the lamivudine group.

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