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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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