Background: Optimal hepatitis C virus (HCV) screening strategies for cancer patients have not been established. We compared the performance of selective HCV screening strategies. Methods: We surveyed patients presenting for first systemic anticancer therapy during 2013–2014 for HCV risk factors. We estimated the prevalence of positivity for HCV antibody (anti-HCV) and examined factors associated with anti-HCV status using Fisher’s exact test or Student’s t test. Sensitivity was calculated for screening patients born during 1945–1965, patients with ≥ 1 other risk factor, or both cohorts (“combined screening”). Results: We enrolled 2122 participants. Median age was 59 years (range, 18–91); 1138 participants were women. Race/ethnicity distribution was white non-Hispanic, 76% (n = 1616); Hispanic, 11% (n = 233); black non-Hispanic, 8% (n = 160); Asian, 4% (n = 78); and other, 2% (n = 35). Primary cancer distribution was non-liver solid tumor, 78% (n = 1664); hematologic cancer, 20% (n = 422); and liver cancer, 1% (n = 28). Prevalence of anti-HCV was 1.93% (95% CI, 1.39%–2.61%). Over 28% of patients with detectable HCV RNA were unaware of infection. Factors significantly associated with anti-HCV positivity included less than a bachelor’s degree, birth in 1945–1965, chronic liver disease, injection drug use, and blood transfusion or organ transplant before 1992. A total of 1315 participants (62%), including 39 of 41 with anti-HCV, reported ≥ 1 risk factor. Sensitivity was 80% (95% CI, 65–91%) for birth-cohort-based, 68% (95% CI, 52–82%) for other-risk-factor-based, and 95% (95% 83–99%) for combined screening. Conclusion: Combined screening still missed 5% of patients with anti-HCV. These findings favor universal HCV screening to identify all HCV-infected cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-105
Number of pages9
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Drug therapy
  • Hepatitis C virus
  • Neoplasms
  • Virus activation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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