Published in Cancer Detection and Prevention 2000; 24(Supplement 1).

Hepatitis B and C virus infection in Romanian non-Hodgkin's lymphoma patients

AM Cucuianu MD, MC Patiu PhD, MG Duma PhD, CD Basarab MD, OM Soritau MD, AC Bojan MD, AB Vasilache MD, LI Petrov PhD

Hematology Dept, Ion Chiricuta Cancer Institute, Cluj-Napoca, Romania,

AIMS: To determine the prevalence of hepatitis C virus antibodies (anti-HCV) and hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) in B-cell NHL patients. METHODS: Anti-HCV and HBsAg were determined by ELISA methods in 75 consecutive B-cell NHL patients. There were 36 low-grade NHL (LGNHL) and 39 aggressive NHL (ANHL) patients. RESULTS: Anti-HCV were found in 24 patients (32%) and HBsAg was found in 23 patients (30.6%). Anti-HCV were found in 44% of the LGNHL cases and in 20.5% of the ANHL cases (p<0.03). HBsAg was found 33% of the LGNHL cases and in 28% of the ANHL cases (NS). Evidence of liver disease was found in 10.5% of the cases. Crioglobulins were present in 8 patients, all anti-HCV positive and with LGNHL (19.4% of the LGNHL cases). The prevalence of both anti-HCV and HBsAg was higher (p<0.0001) than in a sample of general Romanian population (anti-HCV 4.9%, HBsAg 6.3%). The disease free survival of the HCV, LGNHL patients was slightly better than that of the HCV-negative ones. CONCLUSIONS: Both HCV and HBV infection seems to be more frequent in Romanian NHL patients, though it is unclear whether they are involved in lymphomagenesis. Anti-HCV are more frequent in low-grade NHL, are associated to cryoglobulinemia and may characterize a LGNHL type with a slightly better clinical outcome and possibly higher rates of response to alpha-interferon.

KEY WORDS: low-grade non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, hepatitis C virus, alpha-interferon.

For more information, contact

Paper presented at the International Symposium on Impact of Biotechnology on Cancer Diagnostic & Prognostic Indicators; Geneva, Switzerland; October 28 - 31, 2000; in the section on chemotherapy.