Foscarnet is an active agent against cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), as well as ganciclovir. We investigated the usefulness of foscarnet in patients who underwent related allogeneic HSCT. Foscarnet was used in 320 patients with a median age of 45 years (range 15-72). The purpose of administration was CMV disease in 65, preemptive use in 248 and prophylaxis in 7. Totally, 194 patients had a history of prior ganciclovir treatment. The reason for foscarnet use was insufficient therapeutic effect of prior ganciclovir in 99, and adverse event including myelosuppression in 95. The response rate in symptom was 52% for the CMV disease patients. Antigenemia disappeared in 77% of the preemptive treatment and improved in 13% of the patients. No outbreak of CMV disease was recognized. The total effectiveness of therapeutic and preemptive use was significantly higher for patients without prior ganciclovir (91 vs. 76%, P = 0.001). Adverse events of grade 3 or higher were recognized in 24%, including electrolyte abnormalities in 11%, neutropenia in 8%, and thrombocytopenia in 8%. Renal damage was only observed in 3% of patients. Foscarnet was concluded to be a safe and effective anti-CMV agent and to be a suitable alternative to ganciclovir.
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