Publication Spotlight: Safety and Efficacy of Combination Antiretroviral Therapy in Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Infected Adults Undergoing Autologous or Allogeneic Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation for Hematologic Malignancies

The ability to continue combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients undergoing hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) for treatment of hematologic malignancies is likely a critical factor in preventing the establishment of an HIV reservoir in transplanted stem cells. Thus, we studied the feasibility of continued antiretroviral therapy in our HIV-infected patients undergoing autologous or allogeneic transplantation. All HIV-infected adults undergoing HCT for hematologic malignancy at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center between 2006 and 2014 were included; most were enrolled in a prospective clinical study to monitor HIV reservoirs after transplantation (NCT00968630 and NCT00112593). Non-nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitor or integrase-strand inhibitor-anchored antiretroviral therapy regimens were continued or selected before HCT by infectious disease physicians. Plasma HIV RNA was measured every other day for the first 2 weeks after transplantation and then every 2 weeks. Missed doses of cART and reasons for changing the cART regimen during the post-transplantation hospitalization were documented through review of inpatient pharmacy records. Seven autologous and 8 allogeneic transplantations were performed. In 9 transplantations, the cART regimen was not altered after HCT and no doses were missed. In 2 patients who required alterations in their cART regimen because of development of acute renal failure (n = 1) and small bowel obstruction (n = 1) after HCT, enfuvirtide was used as a bridging component of the regimen. Plasma HIV RNA remained suppressed during the first 28 days in 12 of 15 transplantations, and no patients had a plasma HIV RNA >1000 copies/mL during long-term follow up. Non-nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitor- and integrase-strand inhibitor-based cART are safe and effective in HIV-infected persons during the peri-HCT period. Most patients undergoing HCT were able to continue cART without missed doses. Sustained HIV viremia and emergence of resistance were not detected.