Epstein Barr viremia (EBV) and posttransplantation lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD) are complications of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). The use of antithymocyte globulin (ATG) in recipients of umbilical cord HSCT is a known risk factor for the development of PTLD. In this high-risk population, we implemented an EBV monitoring program with preemptive therapy with rituximab (375 mg/m2 intravenously [i.v.]) for EBV viremia (>1000 copies/mL). Eight of 35 patients treated with a UCB HSCT between 2007 and 2009, developed EBV viremia. Two of 7 developed PTLD (with 1 of the 2 dying of PTLD), despite prophylactic rituximab use. When compared with our previously described cohort where 6 of 30 developed EBV viremia and 5 of 6 patients developed PTLD (with 2 of 5 dying of PTLD), the incidence of PTLD appears to be less when prophylactic rituximab is administered. Despite small numbers, our observations suggest that in this high-risk population, EBV monitoring accompanied by preemptive therapy may reduce the risk of progression to life-threatening PTLD; further follow-up of this cohort and a larger multi-institutional prospective study of this preemptive strategy is warranted.
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Financial disclosure: This work was supported in part by grants from the National Cancer Institute PO1-CA65493 (J.E.W., C.G.B) and the Children's Cancer Research Fund (J.E.W.).
- Allo SCT