Introduction: The number of patients who have undergone organ and bone marrow transplantation continues to increase, as does long-term survival. Post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorders (PTLD) are potentially life-threatening complications after solid organ transplantation. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection that leads to uncontrolled B cell proliferation and tumor formation. PTLD is relatively common malignancy after transplantation and is seen up to 10% of all solid organ transplant recipients, and varies considerably among the different types of organs transplanted. We sought to determine incidence and mortality risk of PTLD in recipients of Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Patient and Methods: We conducted a retrospective observational study of 3006 recipients of lung, kidney, liver, pancreas, heart and bone marrow between 2002 and 2015. A total of 26 cases (0.8%) of PTLD were identified in 3006 transplants. Kaplan-Meier analysis was performed for PTLD patient survival after PTLD.

Results: Median interval from transplantation to diagnosis was 49 (4-150) months. Median age was 49 years (12-73) and 73% were men. Histological subgroups included: Monomorphic PTLD (50%), Hodgkin Lymphoma (11,5%), Burkitt (15,3%), Anaplastyc large cell (7,6%) and Plasmacytic Hyperplasia (15,3%). Sixteen patients (61,5%) were EBV (+) and eleven (42,3%) were IPI III-IV only two had bone marrow infiltration. Treatment of PTLD varied according to stage and clinical circumstances: six patients (23%) were treated with Rituximab only and seventeen (65,3%) treated with R-chemotherapy. Nine (34,6%) patients died. Changing immunosuppression (IS) from calcineurin inhibitor to sirolimus at the time of diagnosis may have improved survival, since 5 patients remain alive. The median overall survival was 1260 days, and 2-years overall survival was 65,4%.

Conclusion: PTLD after solid organs transplantation remains a challenge as a result of its frequency, complexity and disappointing outcome. We found a paucity of early onset PTLD in our cohort with only one case in the first posttransplant year. Potential contributing factors included a high prevalence of previous EBV virus exposure. The rate of PTLD malignancies in our group is comparable to that reported in other centers in Europe and North American, since it is the largest series reported by a single institution in South America. Consistent with the known antiproliferative effect of sirolimus, switching IS from calcineurin inhibitor to sirolimus may improve survival.


No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.