Third-party CMV- and EBV-specific T-cells for first viral reactivation after allogeneic stem cell transplant

Blood Adv. 2022 Sep 13;6(17):4949-4966. doi: 10.1182/bloodadvances.2022007103.


Virus-specific T-cells (VSTs) from third-party donors mediate short- and long-term antiviral effects in allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) recipients with relapsed or refractory viral infections. We investigated early administration of third-party VSTs, together with antiviral therapy in patients requiring treatment for first cytomegalovirus (CMV) or Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection. Thirty HSCT patients were treated with 1 to 4 VST infusions (2 × 107 cells/m2; CMV n=27, EBV n=3) at a median of 4 days after initiation of antiviral treatment. The overall viral response rate was 100%, with a complete response (CR) rate of 94%. Of the 28 patients who achieved a CR, 23 remained virus PCR negative (n=9) or below quantitation limit (n=14) for the duration of follow-up. Four patients had brief episodes of quantifiable reactivation not requiring additional therapy, and one required a second infusion after initial CR, remaining PCR negative thereafter. All 3 patients treated for EBV post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder achieved sustained CR. Rates of aGVHD and cGVHD after infusion were 13% and 23%, respectively. There were no serious infusion-related adverse events. VST infusion was associated with rapid recovery of CD8+CD45RA-CD62L- and a slower recovery of CD4+CD45RA-CD62L- effector memory T-cells; CMV-specific T-cells comprised up to 13% of CD8+ cells. At 1 year post-transplant, non-relapse mortality was 10%, cumulative incidence of relapse was 7%, overall survival was 88% and 25 of 27 patients had ECOG status of 0 or 1. Early administration of third-party VSTs in conjunction with antiviral treatment appears safe and leads to excellent viral control and clinical outcomes. Registered on Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry as #ACTRN12618000343202.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents
  • Australia
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections* / etiology
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections* / therapy
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Infections* / etiology
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human
  • Humans
  • Stem Cell Transplantation / adverse effects
  • Transplantation, Homologous / adverse effects


  • Antiviral Agents