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Bone Marrow Transplant. 2013 Nov;48(11):1465-71. doi: 10.1038/bmt.2013.84. Epub 2013 Jun 10.

Reduced PTLD-related mortality in patients experiencing EBV infection following allo-SCT after the introduction of a protocol incorporating pre-emptive rituximab.

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1] Department of Haematology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands [2] Nijmegen Institute for Infection, Inflammation and Immunity (N4i), Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


The mortality associated with post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD) induced by EBV infection can be reduced by monitoring EBV by polymerase-chain-reaction and rituximab given pre-emptively. We performed a retrospective analysis of the risk factors for the occurrence of EBV infection/disease and EBV-related mortality among 273 consecutive recipients of a T-cell-depleted allo-SCT during two periods: (a) before the implementation of a comprehensive protocol (2006-2008) and (b) afterwards (2009-2011). EBV infection was detected in 61 (22%) cases, and 28 cases were considered to have had EBV disease. Treatment with antithymocyte globulin was the most important risk factor (odds ratio (OR) 2.4; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.3-4.2, P=0.001). After implementation of the protocol, in patients experiencing EBV infection, pre-emptive therapy was started more often and sooner (median 3 vs 6 days, P=0.002). Moreover, there were fewer cases of monomorphic PTLD (4/33 (12%) vs 11/28 (39%), P=0.01), and the EBV-related mortality was lower for patients experiencing EBV infection (2/33 (6%) vs 8/28 (29%), OR 0.2; 95% CI 0.05-0.9, P=0.03). The EBV protocol proved feasible and resulted in faster initiation of pre-emptive therapy, the diagnosis in an earlier stage of EBV disease, and decreased EBV-related mortality.

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