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Transpl Infect Dis. 2012 Feb;14(1):33-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3062.2011.00662.x. Epub 2011 Jul 28.

Safety of pre-engraftment prophylactic foscarnet administration after allogeneic stem cell transplantation.

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Department of Cellular Transplantation Biology, Division of Cancer Medicine, Kanazawa University Graduate School of Medical Science, Kanazawa, Japan.


Human herpesvirus-6 (HHV-6) is a major cause of limbic encephalitis with a dismal prognosis after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (SCT). Because our previous trial of preemptive therapy with foscarnet sodium (phosphonoformic acid; PFA) failed to prevent HHV-6 encephalitis, we conducted a prospective study to examine the safety of prophylactic PFA administration and elucidate the changes in the plasma HHV-6 DNA levels in the early post-SCT period. Plasma HHV-6 DNA was measured thrice weekly from day 6. PFA, 90 mg/kg/day, was administered from days 7 to 21 after bone marrow or peripheral blood SCT and to day 25 after umbilical cord blood transplantation. Of the 10 patients enrolled, 2 dropped out of the study, 1 because of early death, and 1 with a low glomerular filtration rate. Grade 3 or greater adverse events occurred in 9 of the 10 prophylactic PFA patients and in 7 of the 10 control patients who had clinical backgrounds similar to the study subjects and underwent SCT during the same period. Neurological disorders developed in none of the study subjects but in 4 of the 10 control patients, including 2 with HHV-6 encephalitis. HHV-6 reactivation occurred in 3 of the 10 study subjects. The prophylactic PFA regimen was thus safe and it may reduce the risk of limbic encephalitis, but is not considered to be potent enough to prevent HHV-6 reactivation.

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