Primary central nervous system posttransplant lymphoproliferative disorders

Am J Clin Pathol. 2004 Feb;121(2):246-53. doi: 10.1309/N82C-TQ1J-0XEV-EFQB.


Posttransplant lymphoproliferative disorders (PTLDs) represent a spectrum ranging from Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-driven polyclonal lymphoid proliferations to EBV+ or EBV- malignant lymphomas. Central nervous system (CNS) PTLDs have not been characterized fully. We reviewed the clinical, radiologic, and pathologic features of 12 primary CNS PTLDs to define them more precisely. Patients included 10 males and 2 females (median age, 43.4 years) who were recipients of kidney (n = 5), liver (n = 2), heart (n = 2), peripheral blood stem cells (n = 2), or bone marrow (n = 1). All received immunosuppressive therapy. CNS symptoms developed 3 to 131 months (mean, 31 months) after transplantation. By neuroimaging, most showed multiple (3 to 9) intra-axial, contrast-enhancing lesions. Histologic sections showed marked expansion of perivascular spaces by large, cytologically malignant lymphoid cells that were CD45+, CD20+, EBV+ and showed light chain restriction or immunoglobulin gene rearrangement. In distinction to PTLDs in other organ systems, CNS PTLDs were uniformly high-grade lymphomas that fulfilled the World Health Organization criteria for monomorphic PTLDs. Extremely short survival periods were noted for each CNS PTLD that followed peripheral blood stem cell transplantation. Survival of others with CNS PTLD varied; some lived more than 2 years.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / etiology
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / mortality
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / pathology*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunocompromised Host
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Immunosuppression Therapy / adverse effects
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Infant
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell / etiology
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell / mortality
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organ Transplantation*
  • Survival Rate
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Immunosuppressive Agents