Effects of rituximab dose on hepatitis B reactivation in patients with resolved infection undergoing immunologic incompatible kidney transplantation

Juhan Lee, Jun Yong Park, Deok Gie Kim, Jee Youn Lee, Beom Seok Kim, Myoung Soo Kim, Soon Il Kim, Yu Seun Kim, Kyu Ha Huh

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Sensitized patients received desensitization therapy with rituximab for kidney transplantation. However, the impact of rituximab dose on hepatitis B virus (HBV) reactivation is unknown. Patients who underwent living donor kidney transplantation between 2008 and 2016 were grouped according to rituximab dose (control vs. standard-dose rituximab [375 mg/m2] vs. reduced-dose rituximab [200 mg/body]) for comparison of HBV reactivation. A total of 336 hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)-negative/antibody to hepatitis B core antigen (anti-HBc)-positive patients underwent kidney transplantation, of whom 91 (27.1%) received rituximab for desensitization (57 standard-dose and 34 reduced-dose rituximab). During the study period, eight patients experienced HBV reactivation (three in the control group, five in the standard-dose group). In the standard-dose group, four patients experienced hepatitis flare, and one patient died due to hepatic failure. No HBV reactivation occurred in the reduced-dose group. Standard-dose rituximab significantly decreased hepatitis B surface antigen antibody titer (anti-HBs; −99.8 IU/L) at 12 months, compared with reduced-dose rituximab (−20.1 IU/L) and control (−39.1 IU/L, P = 0.017). Standard-dose rituximab (HR, 10.60; 95% CI, 2.52–44.60; P = 0.001) and anti-HBs < 100 IU/L at transplantation (HR, 9.06; 95% CI, 1.11–74.30; P = 0.04) were independent risk factors for HBV reactivation. Standard-dose rituximab significantly increased HBV reactivation risk for HBsAg-negative/anti-HBc-positive kidney transplant patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15629
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Dec 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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