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Bone Marrow Transplant. 2003 Jul;32(1):97-102.

High incidence of PTLD after non-T-cell-depleted allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation as a consequence of intensive immunosuppressive treatment.

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Department of Medicine, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.


The occurrence of post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD) in relation to immunosuppressive treatment was determined in 257 patients treated with non-T-cell-depleted allogeneic stem cell transplantation from an HLA-matched sibling (173 patients) or unrelated donor (84 patients). The conditioning consisted of total body irradiation and cyclophosphamide (myeloablative conditioning, 250 patients), or fludarabine combined with cyclophosphamide or a single 2 Gy dose of TBI (nonmyeloablative conditioning, seven patients). In transplantations from an unrelated donor, the patients also received antithymocyte globulin (ATG). The prophylaxis against graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) consisted of cyclosporine A, methotrexate, and methylprednisolone. The autopsy reports of deceased patients were systematically reviewed, and the autopsy materials of cases suggestive of PTLD were re-examined histologically for Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Nineteen patients with EBV-positive PTLD were identified, of whom six had been transplanted from a sibling donor and 13 from an unrelated donor. All the patients who developed PTLD had been given ATG either for the treatment of steroid-resistant acute GVHD (all PTLD patients with a sibling donor and one with an unrelated donor), or as part of the conditioning (all patients with an unrelated donor). In conclusion, in transplantations from an HLA-identical donor with a non-T-cell-depleted graft, the risk of PTLD correlated strongly with the intensity of the immunosuppressive treatment.

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