Impact of cytomegalovirus reactivation on relapse and survival in patients with acute leukemia who received allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in first remission.Oncotarget. 2016 Mar 29; 7(13):17230-41.O
Cytomegalovirus (CMV)-reactivation is associated with graft-vs-leukemia (GVL) effect by stimulating natural-killer or T-cells, which showed leukemia relapse prevention after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). We enrolled patients with acute myeloid leukemia (n = 197) and acute lymphoid leukemia (n = 192) who underwent allogeneic-HSCT in first remission. We measured RQ-PCR weekly to detect CMV-reactivation and preemptively used ganciclovir (GCV) when the titer increased twice consecutively, but GCV was sometimes delayed in patients without significant graft-vs-host disease (GVHD) by reducing immunosuppressive agents. In the entire group, CMV-reactivation showed poor overall survival (OS). To evaluate subsequent effects of CMV-reactivation, we excluded early relapse and deaths within 100 days, during which most of the CMV-reactivation occurred. Untreated CMV-reactivated group (n = 173) showed superior OS (83.8% vs. 61.7% vs. 74.0%, p < 0.001) with lower relapse rate (10.1% vs 22.1% vs. 25.5%, p = 0.004) compared to GCV-treated CMV-reactivated group (n = 122) and CMV-undetected group (n = 42). After excluding chronic GVHD, untreated CMV-reactivated group still showed lower relapse rate (9.4% vs. 24.1% vs. 30.2%, p = 0.006). Multivariate analysis showed adverse-risk karyotype and patients in other than untreated CMV-reactivated group were independent factors for relapse prediction. Our data showed possible GVL effect of CMV-reactivation and minimizing antiviral therapy may benefit for relapse prevention in acute leukemia.