Delayed clearance of hepatitis B surface antigen was previously reported in a 38 year old woman after high dose chemotherapy with autologous peripheral blood stem cell rescue. Sixteen months later, this patient remained hepatitis B surface antigen negative, hepatitis B surface antibody positive, and serum hepatitis B DNA negative by polymerase chain reaction. Serial liver biopsies (one at hepatitis B e antigen positive stage, one at hepatitis B e antibody positive stage, and one at hepatitis B surface antigen negative and hepatitis B surface antibody positive stage) showed a gradual resolution of the inflammatory activity with loss of hepatitis B e antigen and then hepatitis B surface antigen in the serum. However, the degree of fibrosis, though mild, remained the same. With the serological clearance of hepatitis B surface antigen, a small amount of hepatitis B virus DNA was still detectable in the nuclei of liver cells.
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