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Adv Hematol. 2012;2012:230173. doi: 10.1155/2012/230173. Epub 2012 Apr 17.

Posttransplant lymphoproliferative disorders.

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  • 1Department of Histopathology, Hammersmith Hospital Campus, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Imperial College, London W12 0HS, UK.


Posttransplant lymphoproliferative disorders (PTLDs) are a group of diseases that range from benign polyclonal to malignant monoclonal lymphoid proliferations. They arise secondary to treatment with immunosuppressive drugs given to prevent transplant rejection. Three main pathologic subsets/stages of evolution are recognised: early, polymorphic, and monomorphic lesions. The pathogenesis of PTLDs seems to be multifactorial. Among possible infective aetiologies, the role of EBV has been studied in depth, and the virus is thought to play a central role in driving the proliferation of EBV-infected B cells that leads to subsequent development of the lymphoproliferative disorder. It is apparent, however, that EBV is not solely responsible for the "neoplastic" state. Accumulated genetic alterations of oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes (deletions, mutations, rearrangements, and amplifications) and epigenetic changes (aberrant hypermethylation) that involve tumour suppressor genes are integral to the pathogenesis. Antigenic stimulation also plays an evident role in the pathogenesis of PTLDs. Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (PDCs) that are critical to fight viral infections have been thought to play a pathogenetically relevant role in PTLDs. Furthermore, regulatory T cells (Treg cells), which are modulators of immune reactions once incited, seem to have an important role in PTLDs where antigenic stimulation is key for the pathogenesis.

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