Hepatitis B Screening Prior to Chemotherapy in the Middle East: A Retrospective Cohort Study


  • Nathalie Ziade American University of Beirut Medical Center
  • Mohammad Hosni
  • Kassem Barada
  • Abdul Rahman Bizri




Hepatitis B Virus, Antineoplastic Agents, Screening Tests


Background: Hepatitis B virus (HBV) reactivation can be asymptomatic or manifest as fatal fulminant hepatitis. Most international guidelines recommend screening patients prior to immunosuppressive therapy.

Aims: To determine HBV screening rates and modalities in patients receiving chemotherapy at the American University of Beirut Medical Center.

Methods: A retrospective cohort review of electronic health records of  adult patients who received chemotherapeutic agents, between June 2015 and June 2016. Patients clinical characteristics were documented. Adequate screening was defined as performing all: HBsAg, HBs Abs, and anti HBc Abs(total).

Results: A total of 1547 patients were initially assessed. 45.6% were males with a mean age of 56. 382(30%) had hematologic malignancies, of whom 111 underwent HSCT. Of those included, 303(24%) patients were screened by at least one test for HBV and 42(3.3%) for HBsAg, anti HBc Abs and HBs Abs.

Patients who were appropriately screened were significantly younger(p=0.008) and more likely to have hematologic malignancies (n=35, 83.3%, p<0.0001). Among patients with hematologic malignancies, appropriately screened patients (n=35) were younger (p=0.042) and had a history of HSCT(n=19, 54.3%, p=0.001).

Conclusion: Rates of screening for HBV prior to chemotherapy at our medical center are low, and not always complete or adequate. There is an urgent need to implement a better screening policy.


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