Shigle TL, et al. Ther Adv Hematol 2020 - Review.
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) reactivation is one of the most common infections affecting allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplant recipients. Although available anti-CMV therapies have been evaluated for the prevention of CMV reactivation, their toxicity profile makes them unfavorable for use as primary prophylaxis; thus, they are routinely reserved for the treatment of CMV viremia or CMV end-organ disease. Pre-emptive CMV monitoring strategies have been widely accepted, and although they have been helpful in early detection, they have not affected the overall morbidity and mortality associated with CMV. Letermovir is a novel agent that was approved for primary prophylaxis in CMV-seropositive adult allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplant recipients. This review focuses on letermovir's novel mechanism; clinical trials supporting its United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval and subsequent follow-up analyses; clinical considerations, with an emphasis on pharmacology; and lessons learned from solid organ transplant recipients, as well as potential future directions.