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Occult hepatitis B virus infection in patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma: the need for early diagnosis in anti-Hbc positive patients
  1. E Persico1,
  2. A De Renzo2,
  3. V La Mura3,
  4. S Bruno4,
  5. M Masarone5,
  6. R Torella5,
  7. M Persico5
  1. 1Internal Medicine and Hepatology Unit, Second University of Naples, Milan, Italy
  2. 2Haematology Unit, Federico II University, Naples, Milan
  3. 3Internal Medicine and Hepatology Unit, Second University of Naples, Milan
  4. 4Hepatology Unit, Fatebenefratelli Hospital, Milan
  5. 5Internal Medicine and Hepatology Unit, Second University of Naples, Milan
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr Marcello Persico
    Via F Petrarca 101/b, 80122 Naples, Italy; marcello.persico@unina2

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Occult hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection can be defined as the long lasting persistence of viral genome in the liver tissue of patients without HBV surface antigen (HBsAG), with or without antibodies to hepatitis B core antigen (anti-HBc) or hepatitis B surface antigen (anti-HBs).1 The clinical relevance of occult B infection is well documented.2–6 Immunosuppressive therapy can promote viral replication and disease progression. Discontinuation of immunosuppressive drugs may lead to the reconstitution of the immune response to the virus and hence to immune mediated destruction of infected hepatocytes. This is a well recognised occurrence in patients with hepatitis B infection or non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).7,8

We studied the prevalence of occult HBV infection in 58 consecutive NHL patients, six of whom were HBsAG positive and 52 were …

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