Prophylactic letermovir decreases cytomegalovirus reactivation after stem cell transplantation: a single-center real-world evidence study

Infez Med. 2021 Mar 1;29(1):102-113.


Cytomegalovirus (CMV) reactivation is a major cause of morbidity and mortality after organ or hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Letermovir (LTV) is a novel antiviral agent approved for CMV prophylaxis after allogeneic transplantation. In this single-center real-world study, we evidenced the efficacy and safety of LTV for CMV prophylaxis in allogeneic HSCT recipients. A total of 133 consecutive patients who underwent autologous or allogeneic HSCT were included in the study, and a subgroup of 13 allogeneic HSCT recipients received CMV prophylaxis with LTV 240 mg/daily from day +7 to +100 (allo-LTV cohort). All patients in the allo-LTV cohort were at moderate or high risk of reactivation based on donor/recipient serology status, and 62% also received haploidentical HSCT and cyclophosphamide which further increased the CMV reactivation risk. CMV infection rate was also compared to that observed in allogeneic HSCT patients without CMV prophylaxis and autologous recipients who have the lowest reported CMV infection incidence and were used as a control cohort. In our experience, patients receiving LTV showed a significant decline in CMV reactivation incidence to similar rates described in autologous HSCT recipients (7.7% of allogeneic LTV-treated vs 68% of allogeneic recipients without prophylaxis vs 15% of autologous patients; p> 0.0001). The only patient in the allo-LTV cohort with CMV reactivation was a 25-year-old female with a diagnosis of very high-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia who received a haploidentical HSCT after ex vivo T cell depletion. CMV reactivation occurred beyond LTV course, at +187 days from transplantation. In addition, we confirmed efficacy and safety of valganciclovir 450 mg/daily as pre-emptive therapy or for treatment of CMV disease in allogeneic and autologous HSCT recipients who experienced CMV reactivation even after LTV prophylaxis. However, further clinical trials in larger populations and longer follow-up are required to confirm our preliminary results.

MeSH terms

  • Acetates* / therapeutic use
  • Antiviral Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections* / drug therapy
  • Cytomegalovirus* / drug effects
  • Cytomegalovirus* / immunology
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Quinazolines* / therapeutic use
  • Transplant Recipients
  • Transplantation, Homologous


  • Acetates
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Quinazolines
  • letermovir