An International Comparison of Current Strategies to Prevent Herpesvirus and Fungal Infections in Hematopoietic Cell Transplant Recipients

Margaret Pollack, Judson Heugel, Hu Xie, Wendy Leisenring, Jan Storek, Jo-Anne H Young, Manisha Kukreja, Ronald Gress, Marcie Tomblyn, Michael Boeckh

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50 Scopus citations


Herpes virus (cytometalovirus [CMV], herpes simplex virus, varicella zoster virus) and invasive fungal infections continue to cause significant morbidity and mortality in allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) recipients despite the availability of effective therapies. In this study, we developed an Internet-based survey, which was distributed to all hematopoietic cell transplant centers participating in the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR) program, to gather information on strategies utilized for the prevention of disease caused by herpes viruses and fungal infections between 1999 and 2003. The survey response rate was 72%, representing 175 programs from 32 countries. Generally, reported center strategies were in accord with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines published in 2000, with 81% of programs using low-dose acyclovir prophylaxis for herpes simplex virus seropositive patients, 99% of programs reporting use of a CMV prevention strategy during the first 100 days posttransplant for all patients at risk of CMV disease, and 90% of programs using antifungal prophylaxis. Seventy percent of programs reported routine use of a CMV prevention strategy in high-risk patients after day 100. The greatest departure from published guidelines was the use of acyclovir prophylaxis for varicella zoster virus seropositive recipients in 75% of programs. There were very few reported changes within centers in practices over the study time period. Significant regional variations were found with regard to surveillance procedures and treatment durations. There were no significant differences in treatment practices by center size and very few differences found between those centers that reported treating primarily pediatric patients versus primarily adult patients. In summary, our survey demonstrates overall agreement with published guidelines for the prevention of disease because of herpesviruses and fungal infections with significant regional differences found in duration of antiviral prophylaxis, duration of preemptive therapy, and duration and dosing of antifungal prophylaxis. Center size and age of primary patient population were not associated with many reported differences in strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)664-673
Number of pages10
JournalBiology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Financial disclosure: The CIBMTR is supported by Public Health Service Grant/Cooperative Agreement U24-CA76518 from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID); a Grant/Cooperative Agreement 5U01HL069294 from NHLBI and NCI; a contract HHSH234200637015C with Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA/DHHS); two Grants N00014-06-1-0704 and N00014-08-1-0058 from the Office of Naval Research; and grants from AABB; Allos, Inc.; Amgen, Inc.; Anonymous donation to the Medical College of Wisconsin; Astellas Pharma US, Inc.; Be the Match Foundation; Biogen IDEC; BioMarin Pharmaceutical, Inc.; Biovitrum AB; BloodCenter of Wisconsin; Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association; Bone Marrow Foundation; Buchanan Family Foundation; CaridianBCT; Celgene Corporation; CellGenix, GmbH; Children's Leukemia Research Association; ClinImmune Labs; CTI Clinical Trial and Consulting Services; Eisai, Inc.; Genentech, Inc.; Genzyme Corporation; Histogenetics, Inc.; HKS Medical Information Systems; Hospira, Inc.; Kirin Brewery Co., Ltd.; The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society; Merck & Company; The Medical College of Wisconsin; Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Miller Pharmacal Group; Milliman USA, Inc.; Miltenyi Biotec, Inc.; National Marrow Donor Program; Nature Publishing Group; Novartis Oncology; Oncology Nursing Society; Osiris Therapeutics, Inc.; Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc.; Pall Life Sciences; Pfizer Inc; Schering Corporation; Sigma-Tau Pharmaceuticals; Soligenix, Inc.; StemCyte, Inc.; StemSoft Software, Inc.; Sysmex America, Inc.; THERAKOS, Inc.; Vidacare Corporation; ViraCor Laboratories; ViroPharma, Inc.; and Wellpoint, Inc. The views expressed in this article do not reflect the official policy or position of the National Institute of Health, the Department of the Navy, the Department of Defense, or any other agency of the U.S. Government. This article received additional support from NIH CA 18029 , HL093294 , NIH CA 15704.


  • Antifungal porphylaxis
  • Cytomegalovirus disease
  • Hematopoietic stem cell transplanation
  • Herpesvirus infection

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