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Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2012 Jul;18(7):1080-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bbmt.2011.12.579. Epub 2011 Dec 30.

Early human herpesvirus type 6 reactivation after allogeneic stem cell transplantation: a large-scale clinical study.

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Hospital Huriez, Division of Hematology, CHU, Lille, France.


This study investigated the impact of human herpesvirus type 6 (HHV6) reactivation within 100 days of allogeneic stem cell transplantation (allo-SCT) on patient outcomes. HHV6 plasma loads were monitored weekly by quantitative PCR. Of 235 consecutive patients, 112 (48%) had an early positive HHV6 PCR test (group A) and 123 (52%) did not (group B). HHV6 reactivation was less frequent in patients who received reduced-intensity conditioning (P = .028). In group A, only 6 patients (5%) were asymptomatic; the most common clinical manifestations were fever (n = 60), skin rash (n = 57), diarrhea (n = 51), pulmonary complications (n = 19), and neurologic disorders (n = 12). Compared with the patients in group B, those in group A experienced delayed platelet engraftment (P = .003) and more frequent grade II-IV acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) (47% versus 30% in group B; P = .009). In multivariate analysis, the most important factors influencing the development of grade II-IV acute GVHD development were early HHV6 reactivation (P = .03) and unrelated donor status (P < .001). HHV6 reactivation adversely influenced 6-month survival (P = .04). Of the 38 evaluable patients receiving antiviral treatment, 34 had a significantly decreased HHV6 load. Our findings indicate that HHV6 reactivation after allo-SCT is associated with delayed platelet engraftment, early posttransplantation mortality, and the development of acute GVHD. Careful monitoring of HHV6 by PCR is warranted during the early posttransplantation period.

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