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Am J Transplant. 2006 Mar;6(3):569-76.

Treatment of PTLD with rituximab or chemotherapy.

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Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, USA.


Information regarding treatment of post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD) beyond reduction in immunosuppression (RI) is limited. We retrospectively evaluated patients receiving rituximab and/or chemotherapy for PTLD for response, time to treatment failure (TTF) and overall survival (OS). Thirty-five patients met inclusion criteria. Twenty-two underwent rituximab treatment, with overall response rate (ORR) 68%. Median TTF was not reached at 19 months and estimated OS was 31 months. In univariable analysis, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) positivity predicted response and TTF. LDH elevation predicted shorter OS. No patient died of rituximab toxicity and all patients who progressed underwent further treatment with chemotherapy. Twenty-three patients received chemotherapy. ORR was 74%, median TTF was 10.5 months and estimated OS was 42 months. Prognostic factors for response included stage, LDH and allograft involvement by tumor. These factors and lack of complete response (CR) predicted poor survival. Twenty-six percent of the patients receiving chemotherapy died of toxicity. Rituximab and chemotherapy are effective in patients with PTLD who fail or do not tolerate RI. While rituximab is well tolerated, toxicity of chemotherapy is marked. PTLD patients requiring therapy beyond RI should be considered for rituximab, especially with EBV-positive disease. Chemotherapy should be reserved for patients who fail rituximab, have EBV-negative tumors or need a rapid response.

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