Pediatric post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder after cardiac transplantation

Department of Pediatrics, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, 2-2 Yamadaoka, Suita, Osaka, Japan.
International journal of hematology (Impact Factor: 1.92). 09/2009; 90(2):127-36. DOI: 10.1007/s12185-009-0399-x
Source: PubMed


Post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD) is a well recognized and potentially fatal complication after pediatric cardiac transplantation. PTLD encompasses a wide spectrum, ranging from benign hyperplasia to more aggressive lymphoma. Most cases are Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-related B-cell tumors resulting from impaired immunity due to immunosuppressive therapy. Pediatric recipients, often seronegative for EBV at transplantation, have a greater risk for PTLD than adults. The clinical presentation of PTLD varies from isolated lymphadenopathy to systemic disease; common sites involved are gastrointestinal tract, lung or airway, and cervical lesions. Timely and accurate diagnosis based on histological examination of biopsy tissue is essential for early intervention. Immunostaining for EBV and evaluation for clonality are needed. For prophylaxis when EBV viral loads are increasing or for initial treatment of early lesions or polymorphic PTLD, a reduction in immunosuppressive treatment is a key component of therapy, but caution is needed for possible rebound allograft rejection. Chemotherapy is indicated for patients with poor response to reduced immunosuppression and for highly aggressive monomorphic PTLD. The use of rituximab in combination with chemotherapy is effective. For the time being, avoiding excessive immunosuppression is the most effective strategy for reducing the incidence of PTLD. Calcineurin inhibitor (CNI) minimization with proliferation signal inhibitors (PSIs) or conversion from a CNI to a PSI might be useful for preventing both development of PTLD and allograft rejection.

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    ABSTRACT: Posttransplant lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD) is a heterogeneous disease group of benign and malignant entities. The new World Health Organisation classification introduced in 2008 distinguishes early lesions, polymorphic, monomorphic and classical Hodgkin lymphoma-type PTLD. Based on the time of appearance, early and late forms can be identified. PTLDs are the second most frequent posttransplantation tumors in adulthood, and the most frequent ones in childhood. The incidence varies with the transplanted organ—from 1%–2% following kidney transplantation to as high as 10% following thoracic organ transplantation—due to different intensities in immunosuppression. Immunocompromised state and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection are the two major risk factors. In Europe and the US approximately 85% of PTLDs are of B-cell origin, and the majority are EBV-associated. Symptoms are often unspecific; extranodal, organ manifestations and central nervous system involvement is common. Early lesions respond well to a decrease in immunosuppression. Malignant entities are treated with rituximab, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgical therapy. Adoptive T-cell transfer represents a promising therapeutic approach. The prognosis is favorable in early PTLD, and poor in late PTLD. Five-year survival is 30% for high-grade lymphomas. The prognosis of EBV-negative lymphomas is worse. Lowering the risk of PTLD may be achieved by low dose maintenance immunosuppression, immunosuppressive drugs inhibiting cell proliferation, and special immunotherapy (e.g. interleukin-2 inhibitors). Early detection is especially important for high risk—e.g. EBV-negative—patients, where the appearance of EBV-DNA and the increase in its titer may help. KeywordsAdoptive T-cell therapy–Early detection–Epstein-Barr virus–Immunosuppression–Lymphoma–Posttransplant lymphoproliferative disorders–Rituximab–Risk factors–Solid organ transplantation–Therapy
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    ABSTRACT: Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) DNA measurement is being incorporated into routine medical practice to help diagnose, monitor, and predict posttransplant lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD) in immunocompromised graft recipients. PTLD is an aggressive neoplasm that almost always harbors EBV DNA within the neoplastic lymphocytes, and it is often fatal if not recognized and treated promptly. Validated protocols, commercial reagents, and automated instruments facilitate implementation of EBV load assays by real-time PCR. When applied to either whole blood or plasma, EBV DNA levels reflect clinical status with respect to EBV-related neoplasia. While many healthy transplant recipients have low viral loads, high EBV loads are strongly associated with current or impending PTLD. Complementary laboratory assays as well as histopathologic examination of lesional tissue help in interpreting modest elevations in viral load. Circulating EBV levels in serial samples reflect changes in tumor burden and represent an effective, noninvasive tool for monitoring the efficacy of therapy. In high-risk patients, serial testing permits early clinical intervention to prevent progression toward frank PTLD. Restoring T cell immunity against EBV is a major strategy for overcoming PTLD, and novel EBV-directed therapies are being explored to thwart virus-driven neoplasia.
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