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Bone Marrow Transplant. 2004 Mar;33(6):651-7.

An unexpectedly high incidence of Epstein-Barr virus lymphoproliferative disease after CD34+ selected autologous peripheral blood stem cell transplant in neuroblastoma.

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  • 1Division of Oncology, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


The risk of Epstein-Barr virus lymphoproliferative disease (EBV-LPD) increases with the use of highly immunosuppressive therapies. Allogeneic BMT, especially supported by T-cell-depleted stem cell products, is a risk factor for EBV-LPD. Although the risk of EBV-LPD after autologous transplantation is low, case reports of this complication in the autologous setting exist. We report a higher incidence than previously described of EBV-LPD in children undergoing sequential high-dose chemotherapy supported with CD34 selected peripheral blood stem cells (CD34+ PBSC). The median time to LPD after tandem transplant was 3 months (range 1-5 months). Five patients out of 156 (3.5%) developed EBV-LPD while enrolled on two trials of tandem autologous SCT in high-risk pediatric malignancies. Both studies employed five cycles of induction therapy, followed by tandem autologous PBSC transplants. In all, 108 out of 156 patients received CD34+ PBSC; 48 received unselected PBSC. All patients contracting LPD were from the CD34 selected group. Treatment of EBV-LPD included rituximab in four out of five patients, i.v.Ig in two out of five patients, and gancyclovir in two out of five patients. EBV-LPD resolved in four out of five patients. We conclude that the combination of tandem SCT and CD34 selection may have increased immunosuppression in these patients to a point where there is an elevated risk of EBV-LPD.

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