Kaiser Permanente Northern California. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kaiser Permanente Northern California.
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
University of Michigan, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
BACKGROUND & AIMS:
Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) antagonists are the first-line treatment for many autoimmune diseases. However, they have been associated with reactivation of hepatitis B virus (HBV). We determined the rate of HBV reactivation and hepatotoxicity grade 3 or 4 (HT≥3) in patients treated with an anti-TNF agent for an autoimmune disease.
We collected data from 8887 adult patients in the Kaiser Permanente Northern California database who began treatment with TNF antagonists for autoimmune diseases (dermatologic, rheumatologic, or gastrointestinal) from 2001 through 2010, followed through December 2012. We obtained data on HBV infection (52% of patients were screened for HBV before treatment), demographic features, comorbidities, and use of immunosuppressive agents. HBV reactivation was defined as 1 of the following: >1 log increase in HBV DNA, HBV DNA-positive when previously negative, HBV DNA >2000 IU/mL if no baseline level was available, or reverse seroconversion. HT≥3 was defined according to the National Cancer Institute Common Toxicity Criteria. We performed multivariable logistic regression to identify factors associated with HT≥3.
Twenty-three patients tested positive for HB surface antigen (HBsAg) at baseline and 9 of these had HBV reactivation; of the 4267 patients with unknown HBV status at baseline, 2 had HBV reactivation. None of the 178 patients who were HBsAg negative and positive for the hepatitis B core antibody (anti-HBc+) had HBV reactivation. HBV reactivation occurred in 1/5 HBsAg+ patients who received prophylactic antiviral therapy and 8/18 who did not (P=.61). No one with HBV reactivation had liver failure. HT≥3 occurred in 273 patients (2.7%), but only 3 cases were attributed to HBV. Cirrhosis was significantly associated with HT≥3 (P<.001).
In a retrospective analysis of patients treated with TNF antagonists for autoimmune diseases, we found HBV reactivation in 39% of patients who were HBsAg+ before therapy, but not in any patients who were HBsAg-negative and anti-HBc+ before therapy. Patients should be screened for HBV infection before anti-TNF therapy; HBsAg+ patients should receive prophylactic antiviral therapy, but not HBsAg-negative, anti-HBc+ patients.