We wanted to determine the clinical significance and predictability of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infections among a large cohort of recipients of allogeneic, unselected stem cell transplants.
During 1988-1999, a total of 5479 consecutive serum samples obtained during 406 transplantations performed in Helsinki, Finland, were retrospectively analyzed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction for the presence of EBV DNA.
Overall, EBV DNA was noted in at least 1 serum sample for 57 patients (14.0%), of whom 22 (5.4%) were found to have progressively increasing and ultimately high (>50,000 copies/mL) EBV DNA levels (median level, 179,000 copies/mL). In addition, 16 patients (4.0%) had low EBV DNA levels (median level, 3260 copies/mL) in isolated sera before death. Among the transplant recipients who survived, transient EBV DNAemia (median level, 3110 copies/mL), which apparently corresponded to asymptomatic EBV infection, was noted in 19 patients (4.7%).
Low-level EBV DNA positivity in serum occurs relatively frequently after stem cell transplantation and may subside without specific treatment. However, high EBV DNA levels (i.e., >50,000 copies/mL) are strong predictors for the development of posttransplantation lymphoproliferative disease, are not spontaneously reversible, and should be treated immediately. If the EBV DNA level is >or=50,000 copies/mL, the patient can be classified as having life-threatening EBV infection.
Bone marrow transplantation recipients who were cytomegalovirus (CMV) seropositive and/or had a CMV seropositive donor were randomized for treatment with CMV hyperimmune plasma (n = 27) or no treatment at all (n = 27). The CMV hyperimmune plasma had neutralization titers greater than 250 and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay titers greater than 18,000. Plasma (200 mg/kg body weight) was given on four occasions (during 2 days) from day 3 to day 76 after transplantation. Patient characteristics were similar in the two groups. After transplantation, the median CMV titers increased with greater than 100% in the group receiving the CMV plasma and decreased to less than 50% in the controls (p less than 0.01). Asymptomatic CMV infections occurred in 26% of the patients in the plasma group and 33% of the controls. The frequency of patients with symptomatic CMV infections was also the same in the two groups (51% vs 33%). Three patients each in the two groups developed CMV-associated interstitial pneumonitis. Patient survival and causes of death were similar in the two groups. To conclude, no beneficial effect of CMV hyperimmune plasma was seen in patients at high risk of developing CMV infections.
Increased risk of chronic graft-versus-host disease, obstructive bronchiolitis, and alopecia with busulfan versus total body irradiation: long-term results of a randomized trial in allogeneic marrow recipients with leukemia. Nordic Bone Marrow Transplantation Group.
Leukemic patients receiving marrow from HLA-identical sibling donors were randomized to treatment with either busulfan 16 mg/kg (n = 88) or total body irradiation ([TBI] n = 79) in addition to cyclophosphamide 120 mg/kg. The patients were observed for a period of 5 to 9 years. Busulfan-treated patients had an increased risk of veno-occlusive disease (VOD) of the liver (12% v 1%, P =.01) and hemorrhagic cystitis (32% v 10%, P =.003). Acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) was similar in the two groups, but the 7-year cumulative incidence of chronic GVHD was 59% in the busulfan-treated group versus 47% in the TBI group (P =.05). Death from GVHD was more common in the busulfan group (22% v 3%, P
Comment In: Blood. 1999 Dec 1;94(11):3960-210627126
A randomized multicentre study was conducted to evaluate the effect of anti-CMV hyperimmune globulin in the prophylaxis of CMV infections in CMV seronegative allogeneic BMT patients who received a transplant from a seropositive donor or who had received blood products unscreened for CMV during the treatment before BMT. Twenty-eight patients were included in the study. Thirteen were randomized to receive and 15 not to receive intravenous CMV hyperimmune globulin. A dose of 0.4 g/kg of immunoglobulin was given on day -8 and 0.2 g/kg on days -1, +7, +14, +21, +28, +35, +42, +56 and +70 in relation to the day of transplantation. Among the 15 patients not given immunoglobulin CMV was isolated in three, and two of them developed clinical CMV disease. In addition, one more patient developed CMV antibodies without virus isolation. In five of the 13 patients given immunoglobulin the virus could be isolated, and four of them developed CMV disease. One additional patient showed seroconversion but no other findings of CMV infection. The incidence of acute and chronic GVHD was similar in the two arms. There was no significant difference in survival. In conclusion, the present results do not indicate a beneficial effect of CMV hyperimmune globulin infusions in the prophylaxis of CMV infection or disease in seronegative allogeneic bone marrow transplant recipients from a seropositive donor.
A meeting took place in Helsinki in November 1989 to consider the scientific, clinical and financial implications of establishing a registry of volunteer bone marrow transplant donors in the Nordic countries. The possible contributions of new techniques for defining HLA genes and gene products, notably the study of restriction fragment length polymorphisms and allele specific oligonucleotides, and for selecting optimal donors, notably the assay of cytotoxic T lymphocyte precursors in the graft-versus-host direction, were discussed. The differing approaches actually used to establish new donor registries in the United Kingdom, United States and France were contrasted. The clinical results of using unrelated donors for transplanting patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia, severe aplastic anaemia and other haematological diseases were presented. Finally, participants heard details of the International Marrow Unrelated Search and Transplant Study which collects and analyses data internationally on patients for whom searches are initiated and on patients who actually receive transplants from volunteer donors.
Between October 1988 and December 1992, 167 patients with leukemia receiving marrow transplants from HLA-identical donors and conditioned with cyclophosphamide (120 mg/kg) were randomized to additional treatment with either busulfan (16 mg/kg, n = 88) or total body irradiation (TBI; n = 79). The busulfan-treated patients had an increased cumulative incidence of veno-occlusive disease of the liver, ie, 12% compared with 1% in the TBI group (P = .009). Furthermore, hemorrhagic cystitis occurred in 24% of the busulfan patients versus 8% in the TBI patients (P = .003). In patients with advanced disease beyond first remission or first chronic phase, transplantation-related mortality was 62% among the busulfan-treated patients compared with 12% among the TBI recipients (P = .002). These differences between the two groups were statistically significant in multivariate analysis. Seizures were seen in 6% of the busulfan-treated patients and were absent in the TBI group (P = .03). Grade II-IV of acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) was similar in the two groups, but grade III-IV and chronic disease was more common in the busulfan-treated group (P = .04). Death associated with GVHD occurred in 17% of the busulfan-treated group and 2% of the TBI group (P = .003). Patients treated with busulfan had a 3-year actuarial survival of 62%, which was worse than the 76% among those treated with TBI (P