There is a risk of viral hepatitis for children with cancer.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections cause major problems in the management of cancer patients.
In this study, researchers from Turkey evaluated the incidence of HBV and HCV infections in children with malignant diseases, receiving chemotherapy.
The team screened 198 children with cancer (mean age = 7.5 years) and 100 healthy children (control) for HBV and HCV.
They monitored liver function tests, the number of transfusions, HBV and HCV serology, regularly.
|48% of children infected with hepatitis B virus developed chronic hepatitis.|
|Medical and Pediatric Oncology|
In seropositive children, HBV-DNA and HCV-RNA were measured.
Chronic hepatitis was defined as having an alanine aminotransferase (ALT) level 3 times of upper normal limit, positive HBV and HCV antigenemia for longer than 6 months.
The team performed biopsies in all children with chronic hepatitis.
They then analyzed the relationship between the chronic hepatitis and study parameters.
HBsAg positivity, anti-HCV, and mixed (HBV and HCV) infection were found in 12%, 6%, and 2% of children, respectively.
The team found that 48% of the HBV infected children developed chronic hepatitis, while 26 and 22% became carriers and immune, respectively. In addition, 1 died of acute fulminant HBV hepatitis.
Of HCV infected children, 64% also had positive HCV-RNA.
The 4 children with mixed infection all progressed to chronic hepatitis.
The team observed chronic hepatitis in 58% of the HCV infected children. The majority had leukemia and lymphoma.
Furthermore, the researchers found that children with HBsAg antigenemia developed chronic hepatitis in a significantly shorter time than HCV positive children.
Dr Betül Sevinir’s team concluded, “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”.