Despite the increased use of intensive immunosuppressive chemo-immunotherapies in patients with lymphoma observed in the last decade, current data on cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection following autologous stem cell transplantation (Auto-SCT) are very limited. To address this peculiar aspect, a retrospective study on a cohort of 128 adult patients consecutively transplanted for lymphoma in three Hematology Institutions was performed with the aim to determine the incidence of and the risk factors for CMV symptomatic infection and/or end-organ disease. Sixteen patients (12.5%) required specific antiviral therapy and 4/16 died (25%); transplant-related mortality (TRM) was significantly influenced by CMV infection (P = 0.005). In univariate analysis, a pre-transplant HBcIgG seropositivity, HBV infection according to clinical-virological definitions, a pre-transplant Rituximab treatment, a diagnosis of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and age at transplant were significantly associated with the risk of developing a clinically relevant CMV infection. In multivariate analysis, only a pre-transplant HBcIgG seropositivity (P = 0.008) proved to be an independent predictor of a clinically relevant CMV infection. These results suggest that a pre-transplant HBcIgG seropositivity could be considered as an independent predictor factor of clinically relevant CMV infection after Auto-SCT.
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