Epstein-Barr virus-negative lymphoproliferative disorders in long-term survivors after heart, kidney, and liver transplant

Gianpietro Dotti, Roberto Fiocchi, Teresio Motta, Amando Gamba, Eliana Gotti, Bruno Gridelli, Gianmaria Borleri, Cristina Manzoni, Piera Viero, Giuseppe Remuzzi, Tiziano Barbui, Alessandro Rambaldi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. Solid organ transplant patients undergoing long-term immunosuppression have high risk of developing lymphomas. The pathogenesis of the late-occurring posttransplantation lymphoproliferative disorders (PTLD) have not yet been extensively investigated. Methods. We studied 15 patients who developed PTLD after a median of 79 months (range 22-156 months) after organ transplant. Clonality, presence of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) genome, and genetic lesions were evaluated by Southern blot analysis or polymerase chain reaction. Results. All monomorphic PTLD and two of three polymorphic PTLD showed a monoclonal pattern. Overall, 44% of samples demonstrated the presence of the EBV genome. Within monomorphic PTLD, the EBV-positive lymphomas were even lower (31%). A c-myc gene rearrangement was found in two cases (13%), whereas none of the 15 samples so far investigated showed bcl-1, bcl-2, or bcl-6 rearrangement. The modulation of immunosuppression was ineffective in all patients with monomorphic PTLD independent of the presence of the EBV genome. The clinical outcome after chemotherapy was poor because of infectious complications and resistant disease. With a median follow-up of 4 months, the median survival time of these patients was 7 months. Conclusions. Late occurring lymphomas could be considered an entity distinct from PTLD, occurring within 1 year of transplant, because they show a histological and clinical presentation similar to lymphomas of immunocompetent subjects, are frequently negative for the EBV genome, are invariably clonal, and may rearrange the c-myc oncogene. New therapeutic strategies are required to reduce the mortality rate, and new modalities of long-lasting immunosuppression are called for.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)827-833
Number of pages7
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Mar 15 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation
  • Immunology


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