Background: The efficacy of preemptive treatment containing rituximab to prevent post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD) in children has not yet been fully elucidated. Methods: We analyzed 19 pediatric patients who developed high Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) DNAemia (EBV viral load of greater than 40 000 copies/mL) after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) and were preemptively administered rituximab. Rituximab was intravenously injected at a dose of 375 mg/m2 once the EBV viral load was greater than 40 000 copies/mL. Results: In all 19 patients, EBV DNAemia was eradicated after a median of 9 days (range, 3-20 days), and PTLD did not occur. One patient had transient fever, and four patients did not fully recover B cell counts after transplantation. We suggested that delayed B cell recovery was caused by chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) related drugs, not rituximab administration. And there were no other infection-related side effects. Conclusions: In conclusion, preemptive therapy containing rituximab is expected to reduce the incidence of PTLD after HSCT and improve post-transplantation outcomes in children.
- Epstein-Barr virus
- hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
- post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease