Cytomegalovirus DNAemia and disease: current-era epidemiology, clinical characteristics and outcomes in cancer patients other than allogeneic haemopoietic transplantation

Kim H. Tay, Monica A. Slavin, Karin A. Thursky, Julien Coussement, Leon J. Worth, Benjamin W. Teh, Amit Khot, Constantine S. Tam, Michelle K. Yong

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: High-intensity chemotherapy and advances in novel immunotherapies have seen the emergence of cytomegalovirus (CMV) infections in cancer patients other than allogeneic haemopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). Aim. To evaluate the epidemiology, clinical characteristics and outcomes of CMV infection in this population. Methods: A retrospective review of cancer patients other than allogeneic HCT who had CMV DNAemia and/or disease from July 2013 till May 2020 at a quaternary cancer centre was performed. Results: Of 11 485 cancer patients who underwent treatment during this period, 953 patients had CMV DNA testing performed and 238 of them had CMV DNAemia. After excluding patients with allogeneic HCT, 62 patients with CMV DNAemia were identified, of whom 10 had concurrent CMV disease. The most frequent underlying malignancies were B-cell lymphoproliferative disease (LPD) (31%; 19/62), T-cell LPD (21%; 13/62), chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (11%; 7/62) and multiple myeloma (10%; 6/62). Most patients had lymphopenia (77%; 48/62), multiple cancer therapies (63%; 39/62 received ≥2 previous therapies), co-infection (56%; 35/62 had ≥1 co-infection) and corticosteroid therapy (48%; 30/62) within 1 month before CMV diagnosis. CMV DNAemia and disease were observed in patients receiving novel immunotherapies, including bispecific antibody therapy, chimeric-antigen receptor T-cell therapy and immune checkpoint inhibitors. Conclusion: Patients with haematological malignancy, particularly B-cell LPD, T-cell LPD, chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and multiple myeloma, were frequently identified to have CMV DNAemia and disease. Lymphopenia, multiple cancer therapies, co-infection and recent receipt of systemic corticosteroids were also commonly observed. Future studies are necessary to determine optimal identification and management of CMV in these patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1759-1767
Number of pages9
JournalInternal Medicine Journal
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • CMV DNAemia
  • CMV end-organ disease
  • haematological malignancy
  • immunotherapy
  • non-allogeneic transplantation

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