Effect of interferon-alpha therapy in a patient with common variable immunodeficiency and chronic Epstein-Barr virus infection

Pediatr Hematol Oncol. Sep-Oct 1995;12(5):489-93. doi: 10.3109/08880019509009480.


We report an 18-year-old boy with common variable immunodeficiency who presented with splenomegaly as well as left axillary and lateral cervical lymphadenopathy. Main laboratory investigations showed severe thrombocytopenia. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) DNA was detected in the patient's throat-washing specimens and lymph node biopsy. Lymphocytes from the lymph node biopsy were also positive for EBV nuclear antigen. Serology for EBV and cytomegalovirus was negative. A therapeutic attempt with acyclovir did not influence the course of infection. Six months' treatment with human lymphoblastoid interferon-alpha (IFN alfa) brought about the normalization of clinical and hematologic conditions. Detection on throat-washing specimens carried out 1 year after therapy was negative. Our preliminary experience suggests that human lymphoblastoid IFN-alpha is a valid alternative in therapy of immunodeficient EB virus-infected patients.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Common Variable Immunodeficiency / therapy*
  • Herpesviridae Infections / therapy*
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human*
  • Humans
  • Interferon-alpha / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Tumor Virus Infections / therapy*


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Interferon-alpha