Reactivation of hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a major problem in patients receiving chemotherapy for malignant diseases or immunosuppression therapies. It has been thought that a reduction in the immune responses might result in the reactivation of HBV replication from covalently closed circular DNA (cccDNA) residing in hepatocytes. However, not only the host’s immune status, but also viral mutations have been reported to be associated with reactivation. Especially, several case reports about amino acid mutations in hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) that escape from immune reactions have been reported, and recent reports showed that the frequencies of such mutations are higher than previously expected. In this review, we summarize the characteristics of viral mutations, including immune escape mutations in HBV-reactivated patients, and discuss their significance.
- Immune escape mutation