Meta-analysis: The effect of age on immunological response to hepatitis B vaccine in end-stage renal disease

F. Fabrizi, P. Martin, V. Dixit, S. Bunnapradist, G. Dulai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Background: Patients on maintenance dialysis typically show a suboptimal immune response to hepatitis B virus vaccine compared with the non-uraemic population. A variety of inherited or acquired factors have been implicated in this diminished response. Age-associated changes in immune status may contribute to decreased vaccine efficacy in older individuals although contradictory results have been reported in individuals with normal kidney function. Aims: To evaluate the relationship between age and immune response to hepatitis B vaccine in patients with end-stage renal disease by performing a systematic review of the literature with a meta-analysis of clinical trials. Method: We used the random effects model of DerSimonian and Laird; sources of heterogeneity in effect estimates were explored by performing sensitivity analyses. Results: We identified 17 clinical trials (1800 unique patients); six (35%) were controlled studies. Pooling PooHng study results demonstrated a significantly decreased risk of response to hepatitis B vaccine among older dialysis patients (overall risk ratio: 0.74; 95% confidence intervals: 0.70-0.79). The P-value was 0.0139 for our test of study heterogeneity. A lowered risk of response to hepatitis B vaccine persisted after exclusion of trials based on plasma-derived vaccines; it was present even when 'older' individuals were defined as being as 50 years (RR: 0.85, 95% CI: 0.75-0.96) or more (cut-off 60 years RR: 0.75; 95% CI: 0.66-0.85). An effect of age on seroprotection rate was present in all clinical reports, irrespective of the geographic origin of the study group: Europe (RR: 0.76; 95% CI: 0.70-0.83) North America (RR: 0.67; 95% CI: 0.60-0.74) or other countries (RR: 0.83; 95% CI: 0.71-0.97). Additional doses of vaccine did not appear to have an impact on RR of response by age. Conclusions: Our meta-analysis showed a clear association between older age and impaired response to hepatitis B virus vaccine in end-stage renal disease patients. Such a relationship is biologically plausible. Vaccination schedules with adapted vaccine doses and frequent serum testing for loss of immunity against hepatitis B virus are recommended in elderly patients on maintenance dialysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1053-1062
Number of pages10
JournalAlimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number10
StatePublished - 15 Nov 2004
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Meta-analysis: The effect of age on immunological response to hepatitis B vaccine in end-stage renal disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this