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Clin Infect Dis. 2008 May 15;46(10):1525-34. doi: 10.1086/587671.

Clinical and virological characteristics of 15 patients with chronic active Epstein-Barr virus infection treated with hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.

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Department of Pediatrics, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, Nagoya, Japan.



Chronic active Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection is characterized by recurrent infectious mononucleosis-like symptoms, and infected patients have high viral loads in their peripheral blood. Standard therapy for the disease has not yet been established. Recently, hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) has been introduced and has the potential to become a standard treatment, although guidelines for HSCT to treat chronic active EBV infection have not yet been proposed.


Fifteen patients were retrospectively analyzed, both clinically and virologically, to investigate the factors associated with prognosis of chronic active EBV infection treated with HSCT.


After HSCT, 7 patients died after survival periods that ranged from 1 to 16 months (mean duration of survival after HSCT, 5 months). Three patients were considered to have died of transplantation-related complications. The duration between infection onset and diagnosis was significantly longer in patients who died than in those who survived. Five of the 7 patients who died experienced > or =3 life-threatening complications. The plasma concentrations of interferon-gamma, interleukin-10, thrombomodulin, and soluble E-selectin did not differ significantly between the groups of patients. With regard to sequence variations in the EBV latent membrane protein 1 gene, no specific patterns were found in the patients who died. Importantly, the plasma EBV load at diagnosis was significantly higher in patients who died than in living patients. Moreover, plasma viral load was shown to be an important factor to monitor during follow-up for patients after HSCT.


The number of life-threatening complications and plasma viral load are indicative of the stage of disease progression and may be useful factors for predicting the outcome of HSCT.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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