The use of hepatitis B core antibody-positive donor livers does not appear to have a deleterious effect on graft survival in liver transplantation for hepatitis C.
ABSTRACT The use of hepatitis B core antibody-positive donor livers (HBcAb(+)) has steadily increased. According to a recent multivariate analysis of United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) data, there was no significant increase in the risk of using these donors. The increased risk among the hepatitis C virus (HCV)-positive subgroup noted in a univariate model disappeared upon multivariate analysis. However, deeper scrutiny may show that HCV-positive recipients may be at increased risk with HBcAb(+) donor livers, as they require simultaneous treatment with two antiviral regimens there may be deleterious interactions between the two viruses. Thus, the issue of HBcAb(+) donors for HCV-positive recipients merits more detailed analysis.
Using UNOS registry data of all liver transplantations performed during the Model for End-Stage Liver Disease era from February 2002 through November 2007, we analyzed graft survival using Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression analyses.
Of the 12,543 HCV-positive recipients, 2,543 received HBcAb(-) livers and 853 received HBcAb(+) livers. While Kaplan-Meier analysis showed significantly lower graft survival among HCV-negative recipients of HBcAb(+) livers (P = .0001), there was no significant effect on graft survival among the HCV-positive population (P = .2). To detect an early effect in HCV-positive recipients, we examined 1-year graft survival, observing no significant difference (P = .3). To exclude a possible late effect, we examined graft survival in the HCV-positive population conditional upon surviving at least 1 year after transplantation; no significant difference was observed (P = .6). The elimination of potentially confounding codiagnoses, such as hepatitis B virus, alcoholism, acute graft failure, and hepatocellular cancer did not alter the findings. On univariate analysis, the lack of a significant effect persisted among the HCV population. However, the significant effect observed in the univariate model for the HCV-negative population became insignificant when combined with other risk factors in the multivariate model.
The use of HBcAb(+) livers in recipients with HCV did not appear to have a significant impact on graft survival.