Online Aspen Webinar (Part 9) -Liver Disease After Fontan, Acute on Chronic Liver Disease and Immunosuppression Withdrawal Strategies

Below I’ve included a few more slides form recent Aspen Webinars

Fontan Associated Liver Disease  Greg Tiao

Related blog posts:

Acute on Chronic Liver Failure  Estella Alonso

Immunosuppression strategies ..and is withdrawal possible  Kathleen Campbell

What’s Going on with Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B?

Despite the excitement regarding Hepatitis C, Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B remain important challenges. Here’s the latest:

1. Collier MG, et al. “Hepatitis A Hospitalizations in United States, 2002-2011” Hepatology 2015; 61: 481-85. The authors examined the changes in demographics and frequency of HAV hospitalization during the study period. Key findings:

  • Rates of hospitalization dropped from 0.72/100,000 to 0.29/100,000.
  • Average age of hospitalized patient increased from 37.6 years to 45.5 years and more comorbidities were noted.
  • No changes were noted in length-of-stay or in-hospital deaths

2. DiBisceglie AM et al. “Recent US Food and Drug Administration Warnings on Hepatitis B Reactivation with Immune-Suppressing and Anticancer Drugs: Just the Tip of the Iceberg?” Hepatology 2015; 61: 703-11. Key recommendation: “There is good evidence to support routine screening of all patients for hepatitis B prior to undergoing chemotherapy or immunosuppressive treatment; use of prompt antiviral treatment appears to diminish the risk of severe or fatal reactivation of hepatitis B. Different organizations suggest disparate screening recommendations (Table 4).  AASLD suggests HBsAg, and anti-HBc.  CDC suggests adding anti-HBs.

3. Reddy KR, et al. Gastroenterology 2015; 148: 215-19, technical review 221-44.  AGA Guideline on the Prevention and Treatment of HBV Reactivation During Immunosuppressive Therapy. Key Recommendations:

  • Screen patients with HBsAg and anti-HBc, followed by a sensitive HBV DNA test if positive
  • Treat at-risk patients with antivirals with high barrier to resistance for at least 6 months after discontinuation of immunosuppressive therapy (except in patients taking B cell depleting agents who it is recommended to treat for at least 12 months afterwards)

Reactivation risk: (For all of the specifics — Full text article link)

  • High risk of reactivation (>10%): B cell depleting agents (eg. rituximab, ofatumumab), anthracycline derivatives (eg. doxorubicin, epirubicin), and daily moderate to high dose steroids (>10 mg) for at least 4 weeks.
  • Moderate risk of reactivation (1-10%): anti-TNF therapy, integrin inhibitors (eg. ustekinimab, vedolizumab), tyrosine kinase inhibitors, low-dose steroids daily (<10 mg/day) for at least 4 weeks (if HBsAg-positive but not if only anti-HBc-positive)
  • Low risk of reactivation (<1%): azathiopurine, 6-mercaptopurine, methotrexate.  No antiviral prophylaxis required.

For those interested in a more detailed summary of the recommendations: AGA Website HBV Reactivation Recommendations

4. Corsa AC et al. “No Resistance to Tenofovir Disoproxil Fumarate Through 96 Weeks of Treatment in Patients with Lamivudine-Resistant Chronic Hepatitis B. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2014; 12: 2106-12.  This study followed 280 patients–no resistance to tenofovir was observed.

Related blog posts:

Withdrawing Immunosuppression with Autoimmune Hepatitis

A recent retrospective study indicates that withdrawal of immunosuppression in autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) can be successful in carefully selected children (J Pediatr 2014; 164: 714-19).

A cohort of 56 children with AIH were followed for a median of 5.6 years and with a median age of 11 years (62% female).  Demographics noted that cirrhosis was present in 14%, primary sclerosing cholangitis 21%, and AIH type II in 9%.

Key findings:

  • Biochemical remission with immunosuppression was achieved in 76% of all patients at a median of 1.2 years; 23% of these patients experienced a subsequent relapse.
  • Withdrawal of immunosuppression was successful in 14 of 16 of patients with type 1 AIH who had been treated for a median of 2.0 years after diagnosis.
  • When the authors excluded patients with inflammatory bowel disease, they noted that the probability of achieving a sustained immunosuppression-free remission was 42% at 5 years.  Sustained remission was defined as biochemical remission for >1 year, liver biopsy without inflammation, and no relapses.
  • Patients less likely to reach a biochemical remission with immunosuppression included patients with cirrhosis, elevated INR, positive ANCA titer, and patients with coexisting autoimmune disorder.

In their discussion, the authors note that treatment withdrawal is “generally considered more successful after at least 3 years of therapy,” though only 50% of their patients who had therapy withdrawn had been treated that long.  In addition, they state that while coexisting immune disorders often result in more frequent relapses, the one exception in the literature is celiac disease when patients adhere to a strict gluten-free diet.  They also urge all patients diagnosed with AIH to undergo testing for celiac disease and thyroid disease.

Limitations of the study include the following: small numbers of patients, single center (Utah), retrospective design, and cholangiography was not performed uniformly.

Take-home message: In patients doing well with AIH for 2-3 years & with normalized liver histology, it may be possible to withdraw immunosuppression.

Related blog posts:

Disclaimer: These blog posts are for educational purposes only. Specific dosing of medications (along with potential adverse effects) and specific medical management interventions should be confirmed by prescribing physician.  Application of the information in a particular situation remains the professional responsibility of the practitioner.


Sometimes more is not better

‘More is not better’ may be the case with trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (TMP/SMX) Pneumocystis prophylaxis (PCP) (J Pediatr 2014; 164: 389-92).  This study indicates that a single-day course of TMP/SMX prophylaxis is as effective as other regimens.

Design: Prospective survey of 20 centers with newly diagnosed cancer between 2009-2011.  This included 1093 with solid tumors and 1373 with leukemia/lymphoma.  55.6% received 3-day/week prophylaxis, 16.5% received 2-day/week regimen, and 27.9% received 1-day/week regimen (5-10 mg/kg/day into 2 doses).

Key result:

  • Incidence of PCP at 3 years was 0.09% overall.  The two cases occurred in the 2-day regimen (though both had withdrawn from treatment)

The authors note the need for PCP prophylaxis has been questioned for solid tumor patients.  However, the lack of PCP among the 439  children with leukemia/lymphoma indicates that a single day per week regimen is effective.

Bottomline: In GI/liver patients who need TMP/SMX prophylaxis, 1-day per week regimen is likely effective (as it is in leukemia/lymphoma patients).  One-day/week is easier and should help with compliance, which is the key to preventing PCP.