Objective: To establish quick and reliable diagnostic methods for detecting the cytomegavirus (CMV) infection after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT) and to evaluate their clinical value in early diagnosis of CMV infection

Methods: (1) From March 2001 to December 2003, Seventy-four patients undergoing allo-HSCT were enrolled in this study. After allo-HSCT, all the patients were detected for CMV gB DNA in peripheral blood by haplo-nested PCR methods and 35 of 74 patients for CMV PP65 antigen in peripheral blood by the fluorescent immunohistochemistry (FIHT) assay. The positive rate and correspondence of these two methods were evaluated.

Results: (1) In 35 of 74 patients who were tested for CMV infection by two assays at the same time, the CMV-viremia was first detected at a median of 36 days after transplantation by FIHT assay and 26 days by haplo-nested PCR assay during the follow-up time of 90~720 days. The median time of positive persistence was 19 days by FIHT assay and 28 days by haplo-nested PCR assay. The significant difference of them was observed (P<0.05). The corresponding of the two assays was 88.57%. The difference of the two methods was not significant statistically. The incidence of CMV-agtigenemia and CMV-DNAemia were 65.71% and 71.43% during the follow-up days, respectively. (2) The infection rate in the nonmyeloablative allogeneic peripheral stem cell transplantation (NST) group was 78.95%, in the group of related peripheral blood stem cell transplantation (R-PBSCT) and/or related bone marrow transplantation (R-BMT) 48.57%, and in the group of unrelated bone marrow transplantation (UR-BMT) 61.54%. The infection rate of CMV in the UR-BMT group was higher than that in R-PBSCT and/or R-BMT group, but without significant difference (P>0.05). The infection rate of CMV in the NST group was significantly higher than in R-PBSCT and/or R-BMT group (P<0.05), but only a litter higher than in UR-BMT group (P>0.05). Both CMV-antigen and CMV-DNA were detected in all seven patients undergoing haploidentical hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (Hi-HSCT).

Conclusion: (1) Both FIHT and haplo-nested PCR assays were quick and reliable diagnostic methods for detecting the CMV infection after allo-HSCT and their correspondence was good. However CMV infection could be found earlier by haplo-nested PCR assay than by FIHT assay. (2) The infection rate of CMV is high after allo-HSCT and might be different in different types of allo-HSCT.

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