Increased risk of chronic hepatitis in children with cancer

Sevinir B. B. , Meral A., Gunay U., Ozkan T., Ozuysal S., Sinirtas M.

MEDICAL AND PEDIATRIC ONCOLOGY, vol.40, no.2, pp.104-110, 2003 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 40 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2003
  • Doi Number: 10.1002/mpo.10090
  • Page Numbers: pp.104-110


Background. There is a risk of viral hepatitis for children with cancer. Both hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections in countries with high prevalence cause major problems in the management of cancer patients. in this study, we evaluated the incidence and chronicity of HBV and HCV infections in children with malignant diseases receiving chemotherapy. Procedure. One hundred ninety-eight children with cancer (mean age=7.5 +/- 2.5 years) and 100 healthy children as a control group were screened for HBV and HCV. Liver function tests, the number of transfusions, HBV and HCV serology were regularly monitored. In seropositive children, HBV-DNA and HCV-RNA were measured. Chronic hepatitis was defined as having an alanine aminotransferase (ALT) level three times of upper normal limit, positive HBV and HCV antigenemia for longer than 6 months. Liver biopsies were performed in all children with chronic hepatitis. The relationship between the chronic hepatitis and study parameters was statistically analyzed. Results. HBsAg positivity, anti-HCV, and mixed (HBV and HCV) infection were found in 11.6, 5.5, 2% of children, respectively. Most HBV infected children developed chronic hepatitis (48%) while 26 and 21.7% became carriers and immune, respectively. One died of acute fulminant HBV hepatitis. Of HCV infected children, 63.6% also had positive HCV-RNA. Four children with mixed infection (100%) all progressed to chronic hepatitis. In this setting, chronic hepatitis was observed in 22 of 38 infected children (57.8%). The majority had leukemia and lymphoma. Children with HBsAg antigenemia developed chronic hepatitis in shorter time than HCV positive children (median 13 months vs. 51 months, P<0.001). Conclusion. We observed an increased incidence of chronic hepatitis and even mortality due to HBV infection. This suggests that HBV and HCV infections are serious causes of morbidity and mortality in children with cancer. (C) 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.