The clearance of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) was evaluated in infected patients under Ganciclovir (GCV) treatment, using a novel HCMV DNA quantitation assay (HCMV DNA hybrid capture system, Murex Diagnostics). Peripheral white blood cells (WBC) from whole blood specimens of seven AIDS patients, three kidney and two allogeneic bone marrow transplant (BMT) recipients suffering from HCMV disease, were assessed by this method. HCMV DNA 50 and 90% mean clearances were observed at 2.11 +/- 1.97 and 6.22 +/- 4.31 days, respectively, after initial GCV treatment. The viral DNA kinetics were correlated with positive and negative pp65 antigenaemia and viral blood culture. Two-fold higher clearances and initial DNA levels were observed in the AIDS group compared to the transplant group. Neither clinical nor virological relapses were observed under GCV treatment. HCMV DNA quantitation in WBC appears well adapted for a therapeutic follow up of patients with HCMV disease.