Autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) is a widely used procedure for AIDS-related lymphomas, and it represents an opportunity to evaluate strategies curing HIV-1 infection. The association of autograft HIV-DNA load with peripheral blood HIV-1 reservoir before ASCT and its contribution in predicting HIV-1 reservoir size and stability during combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) after transplantation are unknown. Aiming to obtain information suggesting new functional cure strategies by ASCT, we retrospectively evaluated HIV-DNA load in autograft and in peripheral blood before and after transplantation in 13 cART-treated HIV-1 relapse/refractoring lymphoma patients. Among them seven discontinued cART after autograft infusion. HIV-DNA was evaluated by a sensitive quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). After debulking chemotherapy/mobilization, the autograft HIV-1 reservoir was higher than and not associated with the peripheral HIV-1 reservoir at baseline [median 215 HIV-DNA copies/106 autograft mononuclear cells, range 13-706 vs. 82 HIV-DNA copies/106 peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), range 13-479, p=0.03]. After high dose chemotherapy and autograft infusion, HIV-DNA levels reached a plateau between month 6 and 12 of follow-up. No association was found between peripheral HIV-DNA levels at baseline and after infusion in both cART interrupting and not interrupting patients. Only in the last subgroup, a stable significant linear association between autograft and peripheral blood HIV-1 reservoir emerged from month 1 (R2=0.84, p=0.01) to month 12 follow-up (R2=0.99, p=0.0005). In summary, autograft HIV-1 reservoir size could be influenced by the mobilization phase and predicts posttransplant peripheral HIV-1 reservoir size in patients on continuous cART. These findings could promote new research on strategies reducing the HIV-1 reservoir by using the ASCT procedure.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases