A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to evaluate the prime-boost strategy for pneumococcal vaccination in adult liver transplant recipients

Clin Infect Dis. 2008 Oct 1;47(7):885-92. doi: 10.1086/591537.


Background: The 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV23) is recommended for disease prevention in solid-organ transplant recipients, but it may have suboptimal immunogenicity. It may be possible to enhance immunogenicity by priming the recipient with the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7), followed by boosting with PPV23.

Methods: We randomized adult liver transplant recipients to receive either (1) PCV7 followed by a PPV23 booster 8 weeks later (the "primed" group) or (2) placebo followed by a standard single dose of PPV23 (the "unprimed" group). Quantitative and functional antibody titers for 7 serotypes contained in both vaccines were measured at baseline, 8 weeks after enrollment, and 16 weeks after enrollment. Of 130 randomized patients, 113 completed the study.

Results: At week 16, response to at least 1 serotype was seen in 48 (85.7%) of 56 and 52 (91.2%) of 57 patients for the primed and unprimed groups, respectively (P=not significant). The mean number of serotypes to have responded (+/-SD) was 307+/-2.3 and 4.4+/-2.2 for the primed and unprimed groups, respectively (P=not significant). Functional antibody titers, which were measured with use of the opsonophagocytic assay, were also similar in both groups.

Conclusions: The immunogenicity of pneumococcal vaccination was not enhanced by the prime-boost strategy, compared with vaccination with PPV23 alone. Administration of a single dose of PPV23 should continue to be the standard of care for adult liver transplant recipients.

Clinical trials registration: NCT00152802 (http://www.clinicaltrials.gov).

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Heptavalent Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine
  • Humans
  • Liver Transplantation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumococcal Infections / prevention & control
  • Pneumococcal Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Pneumococcal Vaccines / therapeutic use*


  • 23-valent pneumococcal capsular polysaccharide vaccine
  • Heptavalent Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine
  • Pneumococcal Vaccines

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00152802