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Side Effect: Inflammation of the Liver (Hepatitis)

What is Inflammation of the Liver (Hepatitis)?

Hepatitis is a term used to describe inflammation of the liver caused by a viral infection, toxins, alcohol, or other causes. There are several types of hepatitis viruses, including hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E.

Hepatitis B and C are the most common types of viral hepatitis worldwide can be reactivated or aggravated by chemotherapy.

What does Inflammation of the Liver (Hepatitis) look like?

Symptoms of hepatitis may include:

However, many people with hepatitis may not experience any symptoms.

Who gets Inflammation of the Liver (Hepatitis)?

Anyone can get hepatitis, but some populations are at higher risk, including:

In rare cases, if the liver is not metabolizing medications correctly, toxins can build up and cause liver inflammation.

Certain cancer treatments are also known to increase the risk of hepatitis B reactivation. These treatments include: rituximab, ofatumumab, and obinutuzumab.

How to prevent Inflammation of the Liver (Hepatitis)

Prevention of hepatitis includes vaccination against hepatitis B, avoiding high-risk behaviors such as injection drug use and unprotected sex, and careful monitoring of liver function during cancer treatment.

If your treatment plan includes a medication that is known to increase the risk of hepatitis B reactivation your provider will likely order a hepatitis screening test and may order antiviral prophylaxis medications such as entecavir and tenofovir. These medications are typically continued for 1 year after therapy.

How to treat Inflammation of the Liver (Hepatitis)


1. Torres HA, Davila M. Reactivation of hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus in patients with cancer. Nat Rev Clin Oncol. 2012 Jan 24;9(3):156-66.

2. Kawatani T, Suou T, Tajima F, et al. Incidence of hepatitis virus infection and severe liver dysfunction in patients receiving chemotherapy for hematologic malignancies. Eur J Haematol. 2001 Jul;67(1):45-50.

Created: May 4, 2024 Updated: May 4, 2024