Comparison of Preemptive Therapy and Antiviral Prophylaxis for Prevention of Cytomegalovirus in Seropositive Liver Transplant Recipients
Few studies have directly compared preemptive therapy (PET) and antiviral prophylaxis (AP) for prevention of cytomegalovirus (CMV) disease in CMV seropositive (R+) orthotopic liver transplant (OLT) recipients.Methods
We prospectively assessed CMV disease and clinical outcomes among 160 consecutive R+ OLT recipients who received PET (weekly plasma CMV PCR for 3 months, oral valganciclovir 900 mg twice daily for CMV viremia >250 IU/mL, until 2 consecutive negative weekly PCR results) and compared them with a historical cohort of 156 R+ recipients who received AP (valganciclovir, 900 mg daily for 3 months).Results
Patient characteristics were similar between PET and AP cohorts (P > 0.05 all comparisons). In the PET group, 24% (39/160) developed CMV viremia greater than 250 IU/mL at a median of 42 (range, 7-93) days post-OLT. CMV monitoring adherence in the PET cohort was 85% (1488/1760 required tests) and 86% (30/36) initiated PET within 3 days of the CMV result. By 12 months post-OLT, the incidence of CMV disease, acute allograft rejection, major infection, or death in the PET and AP cohorts was not significantly different: 2% versus 2%, 19% versus 16%, 10.5% versus 10.8%, and 5% versus 8%, respectively (P > 0.05 all comparisons). The estimated proportion of drug-exposed patients and average antiviral drug exposure were significantly lower with PET versus AP: 24% versus 100%, P < 0.001, and 15.8 versus 81 g per patient, P < 0.001, respectively.Conclusions
PET is feasible in a nonresearch setting and is associated with similar CMV disease rates and other clinically relevant outcomes to AP in CMV seropositive liver transplant recipients.