Impact of Cytomegalovirus on Long-Term Mortality and Cancer Risk After Organ Transplantation

Rajeev Desai, Dave Collett, Christopher J E Watson, Philip J Johnson, Paul Moss, James Neuberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: There is conflicting evidence of the effect of cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection on survival and the risk of cancer after transplantation.

METHODS: All recipients of kidney, liver, heart, and lung transplants in the United Kingdom between 1987 and 2007 with known CMV immunoglobulin G status were identified from the U.K. Transplant Registry. Based on the donor-recipient CMV status, recipients were grouped into: donor (D) negative recipient (R) negative (D- R-), D-R+, D + R+ and D + R-. Cancer data were obtained from the Office for National Statistics. The impact of CMV infection on survival and cancer incidence was assessed.

RESULTS: The 10-year posttransplant survival in D-R- recipients (73.6% [95%CI, 72.3, 74.9]) was significantly higher (P < 0.0001) than in other recipients (66.1% [65.3, 66.9]). Compared with the D- R- group, the risk-adjusted hazard of death within 10 years of transplantation for D+ R- group was 14% higher for kidney recipients (P = 0.0495), 13% higher for liver recipients (P = 0.16), 34% higher for heart recipients (P = 0.01), and 35% higher for lung recipients (P = 0.006). The proportion of recipients with a cardiovascular cause of death was higher (P = 0.03) among the recipients exposed to CMV (18%) as compared to the D- R- recipients (16%). The CMV status was not associated with an increased risk of cancer.

CONCLUSIONS: The results from this large study demonstrate that CMV is associated with a significantly increased long-term mortality in kidney and cardiothoracic transplant recipients and an increased risk of cardiovascular death but not of posttransplant cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2015


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