Epstein–Barr virus T-cell immunity despite rituximab


Dr Maher K. Gandhi, Level I, CBCRC Building, Lab Head, Clinical Immunohaematology Laboratory, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, 300 Herston Road, Brisbane 4006, Qld, Australia.
E-mail: maher.gandhi@gimr.edu.au


Immunosuppression following solid organ transplantation results in impaired T-cell immunity and risk of Epstein–Barr virus (EBV)-positive post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorders (PTLD). The B-cell targeting antibody rituximab has efficacy in PTLD. As B cells are the principle reservoir for EBV, we investigated the effect of rituximab on the persistence of EBV-specific CD8+ T-cell immunity. To avoid the confounding factor of concurrent immunosuppression to prevent transplant rejection, immunity was analysed in non-transplanted lymphoma patients (i.e. a non-PTLD setting). Cytomegalovirus-specific T-cell immunity was assessed as an internal control. Our data demonstrated that circulating B cells were not critical for maintaining EBV-specific T-cell immunity.