Increasing utilization of human T-cell lymphotropic virus (+) donors in liver transplantation: is it safe?

Journal Article (Journal Article)

BACKGROUND: Liver transplantation is the best treatment option for endstage liver disease. The human T-cell lymphotrophic virus (HTLV) has been associated with leukemia/lymphoma and progressive neurologic disease. There has, however, been an increased utilization of HTLV (+) grafts with little data available to support or discourage their use. METHODS: We performed univariate and multivariate analyses related to graft and patient survival for recipients of HTLV (+) donors and compared them with recipients of HTLV (-) donors using the United Network for Organ Sharing database. Complete analysis of recipient and donor clinical and demographic factors was performed. RESULTS: There were 81 adult recipients of HTLV (+) donors and 29,747 HTLV (-) donor recipients. HTLV (+) donors were more likely to be older, women, and black, with a higher average donor risk index and creatinine, and were more likely to be shared nationally. Recipients of HTLV (+) organs were at slightly elevated risk of graft failure (HR=1.39, 95% CI 0.91-2.11) and death (HR=1.20, CI 0.71-2.02) relative to HTLV (-) donor recipients (P=0.12 and 0.5, respectively). The risk decreased after multivariate analysis - graft survival (HR=1.20, CI 0.79-1.83) and patient survival (HR=1.06, CI 0.63-1.79). CONCLUSION: Our analysis reveals no statistically significant difference in graft or patient survival between recipients of HTLV (+) and (-) donors. Serious limitations of these data are that serologic testing for HTLV has a high false positive rate and that there was a short follow-up period. Until these issues are addressed, extreme caution should be exercised when using these organs.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Marvin, MR; Brock, GN; Kwarteng, K; Nagubandi, R; Ravindra, KV; Eng, M; Buell, JF

Published Date

  • April 27, 2009

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 87 / 8

Start / End Page

  • 1180 - 1190

PubMed ID

  • 19384165

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC2744350

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1534-6080

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1097/TP.0b013e31819ebf76


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States