The clinical importance of pulmonary cytomegalovirus (CMV) co-infection in patients with Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PCP) is uncertain. We therefore determined the association of CMV infection with outcomes in non-HIV-infected patients with PCP by assessing CMV viral load and CMV-specific T-cell response.
We prospectively enrolled all non-HIV-infected patients with confirmed PCP, over a 2-year period. Real-time polymerase chain reaction from bronchoalveolar lavage was performed to measure CMV viral load, and CMV enzyme-linked immunospot assays of peripheral blood were used to measure CMV-specific T-cell responses. The primary outcome was 30-day mortality.
A total of 76 patients were finally analyzed. The mortality in patients with high BAL CMV viral load (>2.52 log copies/mL, 6/32 [18%]) showed a nonsignificant trend to be higher than in those with low CMV viral load (2/44 [5%], P = .13). However, the mortality in patients with low CMV-specific T-cell responses (<5 spots/2.0 × 105 PBMC, 6/29 [21%]) was significantly higher than in patients with high CMV-specific T-cell response (2/47 [4%], P = .048). Moreover, the 2 strata with high CMV viral load and low CMV-specific T-cell responses (4/14 [29%]) and low CMV viral load and low CMV-specific T-cell responses (2/15 [13%]) had poorer outcomes than the 2 strata with high CMV viral load and high CMV-specific T-cell responses (2/18 [11%]) and low CMV viral load and high CMV-specific T-cell responses (0/29 [0%]).
These data suggest that the CMV replication and impaired CMV-specific T-cell responses adversely affect the outcomes in non-HIV-infected patients with PCP.