1Texas A&M University Health Science Center and Baylor Scott and White Health/Scott & White Memorial Hospital, Temple, Texas.
Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection can be reactivated during lymphoma chemotherapy, specifically with rituximab. In 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and, in 2010, the American Society of Clinical Oncology made recommendations that anyone who received cytotoxic or immunosuppressive therapy should be tested for serologic markers of HBV infection. In our study, we wanted to determine the screening rates for HBV infection at our institution and if simply adding a checkbox onto the rituximab order would improve HBV screening. We performed a retrospective chart review of two cohorts of lymphoma patients at Scott & White Health Clinic. Cohort 1 included patients from 1993 to 2008. Cohort 2 included patients who received rituximab after an institutionwide protocol (rituximab order checkbox) was initiated in 2011. A total of 452 patients treated for lymphoma were reviewed. Only 15 of the 404 Cohort 1 patients received HBV screening (3.7%; 95% confidence interval, 2.1%-6.1%). Screening rates were statistically higher if baseline liver laboratory values were elevated (P < 0.0001). HBV was also checked more frequently if patients' liver function tests became elevated while on chemotherapy, 85.7% (12/14). Of the 48 patients in Cohort 2, 33 patients (68.7%) received HBV screening. No patients in either cohort had a positive HBV surface antigen or developed reactivation of HBV during chemotherapy. The addition of a checkbox on the rituximab order form significantly increased our screening for HBV infection in lymphoma patients initiating chemotherapy.