Clinical Trial of Quantitative Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction for Detection of Cytomegalovirus in Peripheral Blood of Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem-Cell Transplant Recipients

Karoll J. Cortez, Steven H. Fischer, Gary A. Fahle, Leslie B. Calhoun, Richard W. Childs, A. John Barrett, John E. Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The preemptive therapy of cytomegalovirus (CMV) reactivation is useful for the prevention of CMV disease in allogeneic hematopoietic stem-cell transplant (HSCT) recipients. We compared results of the pp65 CMV antigenemia test with quantitative touch-down polymerase chain reaction (Q-PCR) on unfractionated whole blood for the detection of CMV reactivation in 51 HSCT recipients. Forty episodes of reactivation in 28 patients were detected by antigenemia and treated by antiviral drugs. Q-PCR detected CMV DNA in 39 (97.5%) of 40 reactivation episodes. False-positive results occurred in 3% of tests, of which 63% were borderline positive. Q-PCR results were positive earlier than antigenemia results in 30 (77%) of 39 episodes detected by antigenemia. Q-PCR remained positive after treatment was discontinued in 14 (36%) of 39 episodes and predicted the return of CMV reactivation in 4 (31%) of 13 episodes. Q-PCR was more sensitive than the antigenemia test and had sufficient specificity for clinical use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)967-972
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2003


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Infectious Diseases

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