This retrospective multicenter cohort study investigated the kinetics (ascending and descending phases) of cytomegalovirus (CMV) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-DNA in whole blood (WB) and plasma samples collected from adult kidney transplant (KT) recipients. CMV-DNA kinetics according to antiviral therapy were investigated. Three hundred twenty-eight paired samples from 42 episodes of CMV infection and 157 paired samples from 26 episodes of EBV infection were analyzed by a single commercial molecular method approved by regulatory agencies for both matrices. CMV-DNAemia followed different kinetics in WB and plasma. In the descending phase of infection, a slower decay of viral load and a higher percentage of CMV-DNA positive samples were observed in plasma versus WB. In the 72.4% of patients receiving antiviral therapy, monitoring with plasma CMV-DNAemia versus WB CMV-DNAemia could delay treatment interruption by 7-14 days. Discontinuation of therapy based on WB monitoring did not result in relapsed infection in any patients. Highly different EBV-DNA kinetics in WB and plasma were observed due to lower positivity in plasma; EBV positive samples with a quantitative result in both blood compartments were observed in only 11.5% of cases. Our results emphasize the potential role of WB as specimen type for post-KT surveillance of both infections for disease prevention and management.

References

PubMed