Treatment with Foscarnet after Allogeneic Hematopoietic Cell Transplant (Allo-HCT) Is Associated with Long-Term Loss of Renal Function

Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2020 Sep;26(9):1597-1606. doi: 10.1016/j.bbmt.2020.05.007. Epub 2020 May 23.


Despite a well-established risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD) after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplant (allo-HCT), the benefits of using nephrotoxic anti-infective agents to treat serious peritransplant infections often outweigh this risk. While there is no consensus on the optimal management of post-allo-HCT human herpes virus 6 (HHV6) reactivation, the nephrotoxic drug foscarnet is often used, although its long-term impact on renal function has not been established. We retrospectively reviewed 987 adult patients who underwent transplantation between 2002 and 2016, of whom 45.3% (n = 447) were exposed to foscarnet. The most frequent indications for foscarnet treatment were cytomegalovirus (n = 257, 57.5%) and HHV6 (n = 139, 31.1%). In the first 3 months post-transplant, patients exposed versus unexposed had similar rates of acute kidney injury and acute kidney failure (defined as 3 times baseline creatinine or <75% baseline estimated glomerular filtration rate [eGFR], 61.6% versus 58.7%, P = .42 and 28.1% versus 26.6%, P = .64, respectively). There was no difference in the eGFR at 3 months (P = .36), but patients treated with foscarnet had significantly lower median eGFRs (mL/min/1.73 m2) at 6 months (69.3, interquartile range [IQR] 51.4 to 92.8 versus 77.4, IQR 57.3 to 99.3; P = .009) and 12 months (67.8, IQR 52.7 to 85.0 versus 80.7, IQR 63.1 to 102.0; P < .001), respectively. There was also a significant difference in the decline in eGFR from baseline to 12 months (median 32.8, IQR 14.6 to 53.2 versus 21.9, IQR 6.4 to 37.4; P < .001), irrespective of the duration of foscarnet treatment. Multivariate analysis revealed that patients treated with foscarnet were more likely to experience a >30% decrease in eGFR from baseline to 12 months compared to those who were not (odds ratio, 2.30; 95% CI, 1.40 to 3.78; P = .001). We conclude that foscarnet use following allo-HCT had a profound impact on long-term renal function independent of other transplant-related factors.

Keywords: Adult; Chronic; Foscarnet; Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; Herpesvirus 6; Renal insufficiency.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Foscarnet* / therapeutic use
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Transplantation, Homologous


  • Foscarnet