A Low Incidence of Nontuberculous Mycobacterial Infections in Pediatric Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation Recipients

Elif Unal, Catherine Yen, Lisa Saiman, Diane George, Phyllis Della-Latta, Carmella van de Ven, Erin Morris, M. Brigid Bradley, Gustavo Del Toro, James Garvin, Monica Bhatia, Joseph Schwartz, Prakash Satwani, Elizabeth Roman, Erin Cooney, Karen Wolownik, Ria Hawks, Sandra Foley, Mitchell S. Cairo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is being used to treat a wide spectrum of clinical disorders but opportunistic infection remains an important factor determining outcomes for these patients. Nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) infections are being reported more frequently in HSCT recipients and the incidence of NTM infections in adult recipients is reported to be 0.4%-4.9%. However, the incidence and severity of NTM infections are less well described in pediatric HSCT recipients. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines were used to define definite and probable NTM infection among 132 children undergoing 169 HSCT between January 2000 and December 2004 at our institution. NTM infection was diagnosed in 5 of 132 pediatric recipients (3.8%). There were no NTM infections diagnosed in the autologous HSCT recipients and the incidence of NTM in allogeneic HSCT recipients was 6.4% (95% confidence interval, 0.8-11.9). The mean age of the HSCT recipients who developed NTM infections was 8 years (range, 2-19 years); 3 were male and 2 were female. Four conditioning regimens included alemtuzumab and 3 had antithymocyte globulin. Of the 5 patients with NTM infections, 2 met the criteria for definite infection and 3 for probable infection. Of the 2 patients with definite NTM infection, 1 had disseminated disease with Mycobacterium avium complex and the other had Mycobacterium chelonae catheter-related bloodstream infection. The probable NTM infections were 1 skin infection with Mycobacterium kansasii and 2 lower respiratory tract infections with M avium complex. Median time to NTM infection was 115 days (range, 14-269 days) after HSCT. Two patients had graft-versus-host disease at the time of NTM infection. All 5 patients received 3-4 antimycobacterial drugs and all NTM infections resolved. In summary, the incidence of NTM infection in pediatric HSCT recipients appears similar to that described in adult HSCT recipients and the outcome appears to be excellent with the proper antibiotic therapy. The increased use of anti-T cell antibodies appears to be associated with an increased risk of NTM infections in pediatric HSCT recipients. Multicenter studies are needed to identify the risk factors, early diagnostic criteria, and optimal therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1188-1197
Number of pages10
JournalBiology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Alemtuzumab
  • Atypical mycobacteria
  • Nontuberculous mycobacteria
  • Pediatric
  • Transplant


Dive into the research topics of 'A Low Incidence of Nontuberculous Mycobacterial Infections in Pediatric Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation Recipients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this