Post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder after lung transplantation: a review of 35 cases

J Heart Lung Transplant. 2012 Mar;31(3):296-304. doi: 10.1016/j.healun.2011.10.013. Epub 2011 Nov 23.


Background: Post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD) is a complication of organ transplantation. The risk of developing PTLD varies depending on a number of factors, including the organ transplanted and the degree of immunosuppression used.

Methods: We report a retrospective analysis of 35 patients with PTLD treated at our center after lung transplantation. Of 705 patients who received allografts, 34 (4.8%) developed PTLD. One patient underwent transplantation elsewhere and was treated at our center.

Results: PTLD involved the allograft in 49% of our patients and the gastrointestinal (GI) tract lumen in 23%. Histologically, 39% of tumors were monomorphic and 48% polymorphic. The time to presentation defined the location and histology of disease. Of 17 patients diagnosed within 11 months of transplantation, PTLD involved the allograft in 12 (71%) and the GI tract in 1 (p = 0.01). This "early" PTLD was 85% polymorphic (p = 0.006). Conversely, of the 18 patients diagnosed more than 11 months after transplant, the lung was involved in 5 (28%) and the GI tract in 7 (39%; p = 0.01). "Late" PTLD was 71% monomorphic (p = 0.006). Median overall survival after diagnosis was 18.57 months. Overall survival did not differ between all lung transplant recipients and those who developed PTLD.

Conclusions: PTLD is an uncommon complication after lung transplantation, and its incidence declined remarkably in the era of modern immunosuppression. We report several factors that are important for predisposition toward, progression of, and treatment of PTLD after lung transplantation.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppression Therapy
  • Incidence
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lung Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Lung Transplantation / immunology*
  • Lung Transplantation / mortality
  • Lymphoproliferative Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Lymphoproliferative Disorders / mortality
  • Lymphoproliferative Disorders / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Rate