Indexed on: 15 Aug '02Published on: 15 Aug '02Published in: Blood
Adenovirus infections occur in 5% to 21% of patients following stem cell transplantation (SCT), with an associated mortality of up to 50%. However, a lack of prospective studies has hampered further developments in the understanding and management of this infection in the posttransplantation setting. We prospectively studied the incidence and outcome of adenovirus infections after SCT using preemptive screening and a policy of reduction or withdrawal of immunosuppressive therapy if the virus was isolated. The incidence of adenovirus infection was 19.7% (15 of 76), and the virus was isolated exclusively in recipients of T-cell-depleted grafts. Patients receiving 50 or 100 mg alemtuzumab in vivo were at the greatest risk of adenovirus infection (45% probability) regardless of donor type, and this was related to the slower lymphocyte recovery. Six (40%) of the 15 adenovirus-infected patients developed adenovirus disease. Severe lymphocytopenia (less than 300/microL) at the time of first detection of adenovirus was a major risk factor for development of adenovirus disease (P =.001). In addition, failure to reduce immunosuppression (P =.04) and a positive result of adenovirus polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in blood at diagnosis (P =.01) were both associated with fatal adenovirus disease. On the basis of this study, we recommend active surveillance for adenovirus infection in T-cell-depleted SCT and withdrawal or reduction of immunosuppressive treatment, if possible, in patients with adenovirus infection. Preemptive antiviral therapy is warranted for patients with severe lymphocytopenia or positive blood PCR, and in those in whom immunosuppressive therapy cannot be reduced.