Summary. During chemotherapy for lymphoma, the administration of cytotoxic agents and rituximab often results in hepatitis B reactivation (incidence, 14–72%). This study was designed to compare the efficacy of entecavir and lamivudine in preventing hepatitis B reactivation in lymphoma patients. Between January 2007 and February 2009, patients treated in four hospitals in China were screened to identify those most appropriate for analysis. These patients received either entecavir or lamivudine during chemotherapy and for 6 months after completion of chemotherapy. A total of 34 patients received entecavir and 89 patients received lamivudine. Compared with the lamivudine group, the entecavir group had significantly lower rates of hepatitis (5.9 vs 27.0%, P = 0.007), hepatitis B reactivation (0 vs 12.4%, P = 0.024) and disruption of chemotherapy (5.9 vs 20.2%, P = 0.042). All patients with hepatitis B reactivation had B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (stage III–IV). In lymphoma patients under chemotherapy treatment, entecavir is more effective than lamivudine in preventing hepatitis B reactivation. For patients with advanced stage disease, entecavir should be considered the primary preventive therapy.