Monitoring of human cytomegalovirus and virus-specific T-cell response in young patients receiving allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation

Daniele Lilleri, Giuseppe Gerna, Paola Zelini, Antonella Chiesa, Vanina Rognoni, Angela Mastronuzzi, Giovanna Giorgiani, Marco Zecca, Franco Locatelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In allogeneic hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT) recipients, outcome of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection results from balance between viral load/replication and pathogen-specific T-cell response. Using a cut-off of 30,000 HCMV DNA copies/ml blood for pre-emptive therapy and cut-offs of 1 and 3 virus-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cells/μl blood for T-cell protection, we conducted in 131 young patients a prospective 3-year study aimed at verifying whether achievement of such immunological cut-offs protects from HCMV disease. In the first three months after transplantation, 55/89 (62%) HCMV-seropositive patients had infection and 36/55 (65%) were treated pre-emptively, whereas only 7/42 (17%) HCMV-seronegative patients developed infection and 3/7 (43%) were treated. After 12 months, 76 HCMV-seropositive and 9 HCMV-seronegative patients (cumulative incidence: 90% and 21%, respectively) displayed protective HCMV-specific immunity. Eighty of these 85 (95%) patients showed spontaneous control of HCMV infection without additional treatment. Five patients after reaching protective T-cell levels needed pre-emptive therapy, because they developed graft-versus-host disease (GvHD). HSCT recipients reconstituting protective levels of HCMV-specific T-cells in the absence of GvHD are no longer at risk for HCMV disease, at least within 3 years after transplantation. The decision to treat HCMV infection in young HSCT recipients may be taken by combining virological and immunological findings.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere41648
JournalPLoS One
Volume7
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 25 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

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