Hepatitis B Virus Screening and Management for Patients With Cancer Prior to Therapy: ASCO Provisional Clinical Opinion Update

J Clin Oncol. 2020 Nov 1;38(31):3698-3715. doi: 10.1200/JCO.20.01757. Epub 2020 Jul 27.


Purpose: This Provisional Clinical Opinion update presents a clinically pragmatic approach to hepatitis B virus (HBV) screening and management.

Provisional clinical opinion: All patients anticipating systemic anticancer therapy should be tested for HBV by 3 tests-hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), hepatitis B core antibody (anti-HBc) total immunoglobulin (Ig) or IgG, and antibody to hepatitis B surface antigen-but anticancer therapy should not be delayed. Findings of chronic HBV (HBsAg-positive) or past HBV (HBsAg-negative and anti-HBc-positive) infection require HBV reactivation risk assessment.Patients with chronic HBV receiving any systemic anticancer therapy should receive antiviral prophylactic therapy through and for minimum 12 months following anticancer therapy. Hormonal therapy alone should not pose a substantial risk of HBV reactivation in patients with chronic HBV receiving hormonal therapy alone; these patients may follow noncancer HBV monitoring and treatment guidance. Coordination of care with a clinician experienced in HBV management is recommended for patients with chronic HBV to determine HBV monitoring and long-term antiviral therapy after completion of anticancer therapy.Patients with past HBV infection undergoing anticancer therapies associated with a high risk of HBV reactivation, such as anti-CD20 monoclonal antibodies or stem-cell transplantation, should receive antiviral prophylaxis during and for minimum 12 months after anticancer therapy completion, with individualized management thereafter. Careful monitoring may be an alternative if patients and providers can adhere to frequent, consistent follow-up so antiviral therapy may begin at the earliest sign of reactivation. Patients with past HBV undergoing other systemic anticancer therapies not clearly associated with a high risk of HBV reactivation should be monitored with HBsAg and alanine aminotransferase during cancer treatment; antiviral therapy should commence if HBV reactivation occurs.Additional information is available at www.asco.org/supportive-care-guidelines.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Viral / blood*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antiviral Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Electronic Health Records
  • Hepatitis B Core Antigens / immunology
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens / blood
  • Hepatitis B virus / immunology*
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / complications
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / diagnosis*
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Neoplasms / complications
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Patient Care Team
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Stem Cell Transplantation
  • Virus Activation


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Hepatitis B Core Antigens
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens
  • Immunoglobulin G