A Low Incidence of Cytomegalo Virus Infection Following Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation Despite a High Seroprevalence

  • Anup J. Devasia
  • Shoba Mammen
  • Anu Korula
  • Aby Abraham
  • N. A. Fouzia
  • Kavitha M. Lakshmi
  • Asha Mary Abraham
  • Alok Srivastava
  • Vikram Mathews
  • Biju GeorgeEmail author
Original Article


Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection remains an important cause of morbidity and mortality following allogeneic stem cell transplantation (SCT). We wanted to study if the high sero-prevalence seen in our population translated into a high incidence of CMV infection following SCT. This is a retrospective analysis of patients who underwent allogeneic SCT between January 2008 and December 2012 at our centre. 475 patients underwent allogeneic SCT for malignant (46.5%) and non-malignant (53.5%) haematological disorders. 463 (97.4%) SCT recipients and 403 (84.8%) SCT donors were IgG seropositive for CMV. CMV reactivation within 100 days post SCT was seen in 174 (36.6%) at a median of 41 days (range 10–100) post SCT. Ganciclovir was used in 166 patients (95.4%) for a mean duration of 16 days (range 5–32). 157 patients (90%) responded to therapy. Sixty-six patients (42.3%) had secondary reactivation of the virus. Use of a male donor (p = 0.000), donor and recipient age > 15 (p = 0.005 and 0.000), unrelated donor (p = 0.000), degree of HLA mismatch (p = 0.000), occurrence of acute GVHD (p = 0.000) and steroid refractory acute GVHD (p = 0.026) were identified as risk factors for CMV reactivation while early neutrophil recovery (< 15 days) was found to be protective (p = 0.004). On multivariate analysis, male donor (p = 0.042), degree of HLA mismatch (p = 0.006), the occurrence of acute GVHD (p = 0.000) and steroid refractory acute GVHD (p = 0.031) continued to remain significant. 5-year overall survival was significantly better in patients without CMV reactivation compared to those who developed reactivation of CMV (68.9 ± 3.7 vs 58.2 ± 4.9% p = 0.004). The incidence of CMV infection does not seem to be higher despite a high sero-prevalence of CMV. However, patients who developed CMV infection post SCT had inferior outcomes.


Cytomegalo virus Stem cell transplantation Seroprevalence 



AJD performed the clinical data accrual, analyzed the data, and wrote the paper. SM and AMA performed the laboratory tests, analyzed the data and wrote the paper. KML performed the statistical analysis and wrote the paper. AK, AA, FNA, AS, and VM analyzed the data and wrote the paper. BG designed the study, analyzed the data, and wrote the paper.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all human participants involved in this study. All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Indian Society of Hematology and Blood Transfusion 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anup J. Devasia
    • 1
  • Shoba Mammen
    • 2
  • Anu Korula
    • 1
  • Aby Abraham
    • 1
  • N. A. Fouzia
    • 1
  • Kavitha M. Lakshmi
    • 1
  • Asha Mary Abraham
    • 2
  • Alok Srivastava
    • 1
  • Vikram Mathews
    • 1
  • Biju George
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Clinical HematologyChristian Medical CollegeVelloreIndia
  2. 2.Department of Clinical VirologyChristian Medical CollegeVelloreIndia

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