Post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder

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Post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder
Classification and external resources
Specialty Lua error in Module:Wikidata at line 446: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
ICD-9-CM 238.77
ICD-O M9970/1
DiseasesDB 34154
eMedicine ped/2851
Patient UK Post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder
[[[d:Lua error in Module:Wikidata at line 863: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).|edit on Wikidata]]]

Post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD) is the name given to a B-cell proliferation due to therapeutic immunosuppression after organ transplantation. These patients may develop infectious mononucleosis-like lesions or polyclonal polymorphic B-cell hyperplasia. Some of these B-cells may undergo mutations which will render them malignant, giving rise to a lymphoma.[citation needed]

In some patients, the malignant cell clone can become the dominant proliferating cell type, leading to frank lymphoma, a group of B cell lymphomas occurring in immunosuppressed patients following organ transplant.


The disease is an uncontrolled proliferation of B cell lymphocytes latently infected with Epstein-Barr virus.[1][2] Production of an interleukin-10, an endogenous, pro-regulatory cytokine, has also been implicated.

In immunocompetent patients, Epstein-Barr virus can cause infectious mononucleosis in adolescent, which is otherwise asymptomatic in children during their childhood. However in immunosuppressed transplant patients, the lack of T-cell immunosurveillance can lead to the proliferation of these EBV-infected of B-lymphocytes.

However, calcineurin inhibitors (tacrolimus and cyclosporine), used as immunosuppressants in organ transplantation inhibit T cell function, and can prevent the control of the B cell proliferation.

Depletion of T cells by use of anti-T cell antibodies in the prevention or treatment of transplant rejection further increases the risk of developing post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder. Such antibodies include ATG, ALG and OKT3.

Polyclonal PTLD may form tumor masses and present with symptoms due to a mass effect, e.g. symptoms of bowel obstruction. Monoclonal forms of PTLD tend to form a disseminated malignant lymphoma.


PTLD may spontaneously regress on reduction or cessation of immunosuppressant medication,[3] and can also be treated with addition of anti-viral therapy. In some cases it will progress to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and may be fatal. A phase 2 study of adoptively transferred EBV-specific T cells demonstrated high efficacy with minimal toxicity.[4]


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