Post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder: a review

Bone Marrow Transplant. 2003 Feb;31(3):145-55. doi: 10.1038/sj.bmt.1703806.


Post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD) represents a spectrum of Epstein-Barr virus-related (EBV) clinical diseases, from a benign mononucleosis-like illness to a fulminant non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. In the setting of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, PTLD is an often-fatal complication occurring relatively early after transplant. Risk factors for the development of PTLD are well established, and include HLA-mismatching, T-cell depletion, and the use of antilymphocyte antibodies as conditioning or treatment of graft-versus-host disease. Early recognition of PTLD is particularly important in the SCT setting, because PTLD in these patients tends to be rapidly progressive. Familiarity with the clinical features of PTLD and a heightened level of suspicion are critical for making the diagnosis. Surveillance techniques with EBV antibody titers and/or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) may have a role in some high-risk settings. Immune-based therapies such as monoclonal anti-B-cell antibodies, interferon-alpha, and EBV-specific donor T cells, either as treatment for PTLD or as prophylaxis in high-risk patients, represent promising new directions in the treatment of this disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Histocompatibility Testing
  • Humans
  • Lymphocyte Depletion
  • Lymphoproliferative Disorders / classification
  • Lymphoproliferative Disorders / diagnosis
  • Lymphoproliferative Disorders / etiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Stem Cell Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology