Difficult Balance Between EBV Treatment and Posttransplant Immunosuppression: A Successful Transplant in a Child With Recurrent Epstein-Barr Virus-Induced Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis.

Research paper by Anna A Fałkowska, Katarzyna K Prądzyńska, Katarzyna K Drabko

Indexed on: 04 May '21Published on: 03 May '21Published in: Transplantation Proceedings


Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) is a rare, life-threatening clinical syndrome. HLH can be classified into 2 major forms: primary and secondary. Viral infections are frequently implicated in the onset of active HLH episodes. Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT) is the only curative treatment for primary HLH and refractory/relapsed HLH after proper chemoimmunotherapy, although following immunosuppressive therapy may lead to infectious complications, including viral infections. We report a case of a 6-year-old boy with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-induced hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis. The patient underwent an allo-HSCT from a 10/10 HLA-matched unrelated donor. Because he received myeloablative and immunosuppressive treatment, another EBV reactivation occurred, as well as cytomegalovirus (CMV) reactivation. After antiviral therapy, on day +27, elimination of EBV and CMV was achieved. Repeated chimerism tests evaluated decreasing donor chimerism; graft-versus-host disease prophylaxis was reduced from day +32 and eventually withdrawn. Later on, the patient developed acute graft-versus-host disease (skin rush, gastrointestinal dysfunction). Immunosuppressive agents (methylprednisolone, cyclosporine) were applied once again, which led to an increase of CMV viremia and polyomavirus (BK virus) primary infection. Virus infection can induct a severe disorder, such as HLH, and recur after its treatment. We believe our case represents dynamic changes in immunologic reaction to viral infection, which depend on modifications in treatment after allo-HSCT. These observations underscore the importance and difficulty of balancing immunosuppressive therapy and infection control. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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