Posttransplant lymphoproliferative disease in children: correlation of histology to clinical behavior

J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2001 Jan;23(1):14-8. doi: 10.1097/00043426-200101000-00005.


Purpose: To determine whether the morphologic features of posttransplant lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD) correlated to a response to therapy.

Patients and methods: We reviewed our experience with PTLD in the pediatric population. We identified 32 patients with a total of 36 episodes of PTLD. The diagnosis was confirmed by tissue examination and classified according to the degree of monomorphic features of the lesion. Thirty-four of 36 episodes were managed with immunosuppression reduction, and the patients were assessed for their response to this strategy. Chemotherapy was used to treat 10 of 15 patients who had progressive disease, and their subsequent course was also analyzed.

Results: Sixteen of 17 (94%) patients with polymorphic morphology responded to immunosuppression reduction compared with only 5 of 17 (29%) patients with monomorphic features (P < 0.001). All of the patients with progressive disease who did not receive additional therapy died. Standard chemotherapy regimens for lymphoma were administered to 10 patients with progressive disease, with a high response rate (90%), durable remissions, and acceptable toxicity.

Conclusions: We conclude that the morphologic characteristics of PTLD provide information to potentially help guide treatment strategies in the management of this disease. Standard chemotherapy regimens for malignant lymphoma appear to be a viable treatment option for patients with progressive disease, although further investigation is needed.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Continental Population Groups
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects*
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Lymphoma / drug therapy
  • Lymphoproliferative Disorders / epidemiology
  • Lymphoproliferative Disorders / etiology*
  • Lymphoproliferative Disorders / therapy*
  • Male
  • Organ Transplantation*
  • Postoperative Complications*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Immunosuppressive Agents