Extended valganciclovir prophylaxis to prevent cytomegalovirus after lung transplantation: A randomized, controlled trial

Academic Article


  • Background: Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is the most prevalent opportunistic infection after lung transplantation. Current strategies do not prevent CMV in most at-risk patients. Objective: To determine whether extending prophylaxis with oral valganciclovir from the standard 3 months to 12 months after lung transplantation is efficacious. Design: Randomized, clinical trial. Patients were randomly assigned by a central automated system to treatment or placebo. Patients and investigators were blinded to treatment status. (ClinicalTrials.gov registration number: NCT00227370) Setting: Multicenter trial involving 11 U.S. lung transplant centers. Patients: 136 lung transplant recipients who completed 3 months of valganciclovir prophylaxis. Intervention: 9 additional months of oral valganciclovir (n = 70) or placebo (n = 66). Measurements: The primary end point was freedom from CMV disease (syndrome or tissue-invasive) on an intention-to-treat basis 300 days after randomization. Secondary end points were CMV disease severity, CMV infection, acute rejection, opportunistic infections, ganciclovir resistance, and safety. Results: CMV disease occurred in 32% of the short-course group versus 4% of the extended-course group (P < 0.001). Significant reductions were observed with CMV infection (64% vs. 10%; P < 0.001) and disease severity (110 000 vs. 3200 copies/mL, P = 0.009) with extended treatment. Rates of acute rejection, opportunistic infections, adverse events, CMV UL97 ganciclovir-resistance mutations, and laboratory abnormalities were similar between groups. During the 6 months after study completion, a low incidence of CMV disease was observed in both groups. Limitation: Longer-term effects of extended prophylaxis were not assessed. Conclusion: In adult lung transplant recipients who have received 3 months of valganciclovir, extending prophylaxis by an additional 9 months significantly reduces CMV infection, disease, and disease severity without increased ganciclovir resistance or toxicity. A beneficial effect with regard to prevention of CMV disease seems to extend at least through 18 months after transplantation. © 2010 American College of Physicians.
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    Author List

  • Palmer SM; Limaye AP; Banks M; Gallup D; Chapman J; Lawrence EC; Dunitz J; Milstone A; Reynolds J; Yung GL
  • Start Page

  • 761
  • End Page

  • 769
  • Volume

  • 152
  • Issue

  • 12