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Transplant Proc. 2006 Jan-Feb;38(1):173-6.

Posttransplant lymphoproliferative disorder of the lung in a renal transplant recipient treated successfully with surgery.

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  • 1Transplantation Institute, Department of Immunology, Transplantology and Internal Medicine, Warsaw Medical University, Nowogrodzka 59, 02-006 Warsaw, Poland.


Posttransplant lymphoproliferative disorders (PTLDs) are a heterogeneous group of lymphoid diseases that occur after solid organ and bone marrow transplantation. Lung-located PTLD has been reported in recipients of the heart, cord blood stem cells, lungs, and bone marrow transplants, but only four cases were reported previously after kidney transplantation. Thoracic location of PTLD must be regarded as an especially dangerous complication. The pathogenesis, and clinical and histological features of PTLD remain poorly defined but predisposing risk factors are becoming better understood. Namely, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and immunosuppressive agents appear to be such risk factors. There has been marginal success in treating PTLD using a number of treatment modalities, including combination chemotherapy with anti-CD20 or high-dose chemotherapy with stem cell rescue. We report a renal allograft recipient transplanted in March 2000, diagnosed with EBV-associated and lung-located PTLD. His initial immunosuppression consisted of tacrolimus, azathioprine, and steroids. Azathioprine was withdrawn in September 2001. In November 2001 a high-resolution computed tomography scan revealed two round masses in the right lung. The patient underwent right thoracotomy and resection of the lower and middle lobe. The diagnosis of PTLD was settled by intraoperative histopathological evaluation. The postoperative histological assessment confirmed the diagnosis and revealed positive staining for EBV. The patient remained in complete remission for 3 years with a well-functioning renal allograft, with current serum creatinine of 1.2 mg%. This case illustrates that the treatment of lung-located PTLD may be successful, but it depends on a combination of prompt diagnosis, reduction of immunosuppression, and of course surgery.

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