1Francesca De Nard, Monica Todoerti, Vittorio Grosso, Sara Monti, Silvia Breda, Silvia Rossi, Carlomaurizio Montecucco, Roberto Caporali, IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo Foundation, Chair and Division of Rheumatology, University of Pavia, 27100 Pavia, Italy.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) reactivation in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients undergoing biological therapy is not infrequent. This condition can occur in patients with chronic hepatitis B as well as in patients with resolved HBV infection. Current recommendations are mainly focused on prevention and management strategies of viral reactivation under tumor necrosis factor-α inhibitors or chimeric monoclonal antibody rituximab. In recent years, growing data concerning HBV reactivation in RA patients treated with newer biological drugs like tocilizumab and abatacept have cumulated. In this review, epidemiology, pathogenesis and natural history of HBV infection have been revised first, mainly focusing on the role that specific therapeutic targets of current biotechnological drugs play in HBV pathobiology; finally we have summarized current evidences from scientific literature, including either observational studies and case reports as well, concerning HBV reactivation under different classes of biological drugs in RA patients. Taking all these evidences into account, some practical guidelines for screening, vaccination, prophylaxis and treatment of HBV reactivation have been proposed.