Purpose: National hepatitis B virus (HBV) screening recommendations for patients with cancer anticipating systemic anticancer therapy range from universal screening to screening based on risk of HBV infection, cancer therapy-specific risk of HBV reactivation, or both. We conducted cost-effectiveness analyses to identify optimal HBV screening strategies.
Patients and methods: We constructed decision-analytic models to analyze three strategies (no screening, universal screening, and selective screening based on use of an HBV infection risk tool) for hypothetic cohorts of patients anticipating anticancer therapy at high or lower risk for HBV reactivation. Model parameters were drawn from previously published studies, the SEER-Medicare database, and other online resources. Outcomes included lifetime expected cost, quality-adjusted life expectancy, and incremental cost-effectiveness ratio, measured in US dollars required to gain an additional quality-adjusted life-year (QALY).
Results: For patients at high reactivation risk, universal screening dominated (ie, was cheaper and more effective than) the other two strategies. Universal screening was associated with a gain in life expectancy of 0.01 QALY compared with no screening and cost $76.06 less than no screening and $4.34 less than selective screening. For those at lower reactivation risk, universal screening still dominated selective screening; however, the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of the universal screening strategy compared with no screening was $186,917 per QALY gained.
Conclusion: Universal HBV screening is cost effective and cheaper for patients receiving anticancer therapy associated with a high reactivation risk. For patients receiving anticancer therapy associated with a lower reactivation risk, universal screening is not cost effective.