Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2015 May 6;13(5):970-5; quiz e51. Epub 2014 Nov 6.
Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minnesota; Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California. Electronic address:
Background & Aims: Chemotherapy of patients with inactive hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection can lead to viral reactivation and hepatitis flares. We investigated the proportion of patients screened for HBV infection before chemotherapy over time and the outcomes of screened patients.
Methods: In a retrospective study, we collected data from a pharmacy database on patients who underwent cytotoxic chemotherapy for solid or hematologic malignancies at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, from January 1, 2006, through September 30, 2011. Laboratory data were collected from electronic medical records. Screening was identified based on tests for hepatitis B surface antigen, for any reason at any time before chemotherapy.
Results: Of 8005 patients undergoing chemotherapy, 1279 (16%) were screened for HBV infection before chemotherapy, including 668 of 1805 patients with hematologic malignancies (37%). The proportion of patients screened for HBV increased from 14.3% in 2006 to 2008 to 17.7% in 2009 to 2011 (P < .01). This trend was attributed mostly to an increase in the proportion of patients with hematologic malignancies, from 32.7% in 2006 to 2008 to 40.6% in 2009 to 2011 (P < .01). Of 13 patients who tested positive for HBV, 5 did not receive prophylactic antiviral therapy; HBV infection was reactivated in 2 of these patients. None of the 8 patients who received an antiviral agent before chemotherapy experienced HBV reactivation. Of 58 unscreened patients who had increases in their alanine aminotransferase level (>300 U/L), only 1 patient appeared to have an undiagnosed HBV infection.
Conclusions: Only a small percentage of patients receiving chemotherapy are screened for HBV infection. However, a larger proportion of patients was screened during 2009 to 2011 than during 2006 to 2008, especially patients with hematologic malignancies. Strategies are needed to ensure that patients receiving chemotherapy are protected from the consequences of undiagnosed HBV infection.