Human polyomavirus BK (BKV) load and haemorrhagic cystitis in bone marrow transplantation patients

A. Azzi, S. Cesaro, D. Laszlo, K. Zakrzewska, S. Ciappi, R. De Santis, R. Fanci, G. Pesavento, E. Calore, A. Bosi

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Several observations suggest an association between long-lasting haemorrhagic cystitis (HC) in bone marrow transplantation (BMT) recipients and human polyomavirus BK (BKV) reactivation, but no conclusive evidence has been obtained so far. The amount of BKV measured in the urine of BMT patients during an episode of HC was compared with that detected in the urine of BMT patients without HC and of immunocompetent individuals in order to better assess the association of BKV reactivation with HC. For this purpose a quantitative competitive PCR was developed. The application of this assay to clinical samples allowed us to distinguish asymptomatic reactivation both in healthy individuals and in immunocompromised patients from reactivation associated with HC, in almost all cases. Low levels, below the sensitivity of the quantitative assay, were shown in asymptomatic healthy individuals and in about 50% of immunocompromised patients. A significantly higher viral load than in the urine of asymptomatic immunocompromised patients was detected in the urine of patients with HC. These data strengthen the hypothesis that BKV reactivation can cause, together with other factors, the majority of late HC in BMT recipients as well as in patients treated for acute refractory lymphoblastic leukemia. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-86
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Virology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1999


  • BKV
  • BMT
  • Haemorrhagic cystitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Virology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Infectious Diseases


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