Incidence, kinetics, and risk factors of Epstein-Barr virus viremia in pediatric patients after allogeneic stem cell transplantation.
ABSTRACT After allogeneic hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (allo-HSCT), EBV infections can be potentially dangerous and even life threatening. We evaluated the EBV viremia in 80 consecutive allo-HSCT with quantitative EBV-PCR every 2 weeks during the first 3 months and monthly thereafter until 1 yr after allo-HSCT or until death. We found a significantly more frequent viremia in patients who had in vivo T-cell depletion in which 23 out of 51 (45%) had EBV-PCR positivity. The EBV virus load was also significantly higher in the in vivo T-cell depleted group. Three patients developed clinical symptoms of EBV-PTLD and were treated with monoclonal anti-CD20 antibodies. No EBV- driven mortality was seen in this cohort. In our opinion EBV-PCR monitoring is mandatory after allo-HSCT. Most of the patients with EBV viremia had a good evolution after tapering the immune suppression, so this should be the first-line management of pediatric patients with EBV viremia. Monoclonal anti-CD20 antibodies should be reserved for those patients with early symptoms of EBV-PTLD.