Early CMV replication and subsequent chronic GVHD have a significant anti-leukemic effect after allogeneic HSCT in acute myeloid leukemia

Ji Eun Jang, Soo Jeong Kim, June Won Cheong, Shin Young Hyun, Yun Deok Kim, Yu Ri Kim, Jin Seok Kim, Yoo Hong Min

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Early cytomegalovirus (CMV) replication (eCMV) after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT) has been suggested as an independent factor that reduces leukemia relapse risk. We retrospectively analyzed 74 patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) who underwent allo-HSCT between August 2006 and September 2012. All recipients were CMV seropositive. In 52 patients, eCMV occurred at a median of 35 days (range, 11–92) after allo-HSCT. Univariate analysis revealed that the factors associated with a reduction in the 5-year cumulative incidence of relapse (CIR) included the first complete remission status at allo-HSCT, non-adverse cytogenetics and molecular abnormalities, pre-transplant serum ferritin level <1,400 mg/dL, chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD), and eCMV. In sub-group analysis, according to the existence of eCMV and cGVHD, those with both eCMV and cGVHD showed the lowest 5-year CIR (P < 0.003). Patients with both eCMV and cGVHD had the best outcome for leukemia-free survival (LFS) (P < 0.001) and OS (P < 0.001). In the CMV-seropositive population, the presence of eCMV in combination with cGVHD had a significant positive effect on LFS and OS after allo-HSCT. When eCMV preceded cGVHD, the relapse rate after allo-HSCT was significantly reduced in patients with AML. Therefore, we suggest that it is critical to have an immunological understanding of the graft-versus-leukemia effect in this setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-282
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Hematology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jan 13


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Hematology

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