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Development and Dynamics of Cytomegalovirus UL97 Ganciclovir Resistance Mutations in Transplant Recipients Detected by Next-Generation Sequencing

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Background: (Val)ganciclovir resistance mutations in CMV UL97 (UL97-GCV-R) complicate anti-CMV therapy in recipients of solid organ and hematopoietic stem cell transplants, but comprehensive data on prevalence, emergence, and outcome are scarce.

Methods: Using next-generation sequencing (NGS; Illumina MiSeq platform), we analyzed UL97-GCV-R in patients with available plasma samples and refractory CMV replication/DNAemia (n = 87) containing viral loads ≥910 IU/mL. Twenty-one patients with CMV DNAemia resolving under antiviral therapy were analyzed as controls. Detected mutations were considered induced and of potential clinical significance if they increased by ≥10% compared with the first detected frequency or if they had a maximum frequency ≥25%.

Results: Nineteen of 87 (21.8%) with refractory CMV replication had ≥1 UL97-GCV-R detected by NGS, in comparison to 0/21 of the controls (P = .02). One-third of the recipients had 2 or more induced UL97-GCV-R mutations. The most frequently induced mutations affected codons 595 (42% [8/19]), 594 (32% [6/19]), and 603 (32% [6/19]). C592G was present in all episodes of both cases and controls at frequencies <15%, but never induced. UL97-GCV-R tended to be more frequent in donor/recipient CMV immunoglobulin G mismatch or following failure to complete primary prophylaxis, and many developed invasive CMV disease.

Conclusions: UL97-GCV-R is common among transplant patients with refractory CMV replication. Early testing by NGS allows for identification of major mutations at codons 595, 594, and 603 and excludes a major role of C592G in ganciclovir resistance. Large prospective studies on UL97-GCV-R are warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberofab462
JournalOpen Forum Infectious Diseases
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America.

ID: 68766183