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A prospective study comparing cytomegalovirus antigenemia, DNAemia and RNAemia tests in guiding pre-emptive therapy in thoracic organ transplant recipients

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Abstract:

Summary

We evaluated the usefulness of DNAemia and mRNAemia tests in guiding the pre-emptive therapy against cytomegalovirus (CMV) infections in thoracic organ transplant recipients using antigenemia test as the reference. Seven lung (LTR) and 14 heart (HTR) transplant recipients were prospectively monitored for CMV by antigenemia, DNAemia (Cobas Amplicor PCR Monitor) and pp67-mRNAemia (NASBA) tests. However, only the antigenemia test guided pre-emptive therapy with cut-off levels of ≥2 and ≥5–10 pp65-positive leukocytes/50 000 leukocytes in the LTRs and HTRs, respectively. CMV DNAemia was detected in 26/28 (93%) and RNAemia in 17/28 (61%) of the CMV antigenemias requiring antiviral therapy (P = 0.01). Optimal DNAemia levels (sensitivity/specificity) estimated from receiver-operating characteristic curve to achieve maximal sum of sensitivity and specificity were 400 (75.9/92.7%), 850 (91.3/91.3%) and 1250 (100/91.5%) copies/ml for the antigenemia of 2, 5 and 10 pp65-positive leukocytes, respectively. The sensitivities of nucleic acid sequence-based amplification (NASBA) were 25.9%, 43.5% and 56.3% in detecting the same cut-off levels of antigenemia. In thoracic organ transplant recipients, the Cobas PCR assay is comparable with the antigenemia test in guiding pre-emptive therapy against CMV infections when threshold levels of over 5 pp65-antigen-positive leukocytes are used as the reference. In contrast, the low sensitivity of NASBA limits its usefulness in the guidance of pre-emptive therapy.

Keywords: cytomegalovirus; heart transplantation; lung transplantation

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1432-2277.2005.00226.x

Affiliations: 1: Department of Medicine, Division of Respiratory Diseases, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland 2: Department of Virology, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland 3: Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland 4: Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland

Publication date: December 1, 2005

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