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Am J Surg Pathol. 2006 Apr;30(4):470-6.

Hodgkin lymphoma-like posttransplant lymphoproliferative disorder (HL-like PTLD) simulates monomorphic B-cell PTLD both clinically and pathologically.

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Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Loma Linda University Medical Center, Loma Linda, CA 92354, USA.


Although Hodgkin lymphoma-like posttransplantation lymphoproliferative disorder (HL-like PTLD) has been grouped with classic Hodgkin lymphoma type PTLD (HL-PTLD), controversy remains as to whether it is truly a form of HL or whether it should be more appropriately classified as a form of B-cell PTLD. Because only few cases of HL-like PTLD have been reported, their pathologic nature and clinical behavior have not been well defined. This report characterized 5 cases of HL-like PTLD with respect to their immunophenotype, EBV status, clonality, and clinical outcome. All of the patients were male, with ages ranging from 1.5 to 55 years at diagnosis. PTLD developed from 4 months to 6 years following solid organ transplantation (3 hearts, 1 kidney, 1 liver), and involved both nodal and extranodal sites. All were EBV-related (EBER+) with the large neoplastic cells CD20/CD79a positive but CD15 negative. Immunoglobulin gene rearrangements were detected in 3 of 5 tested. All patients were managed by initial reduction/withdrawal of immunosuppression, with 2 also receiving chemotherapy for non-HL. Three patients died of progressive disease within 2 to 3 months after diagnosis, 1 is alive and well 2 years later, and the fifth was disease free but died of unrelated causes (graft coronary disease) 2 years later. We conclude that, although HL-like PTLD morphologically simulates classic HL PTLD, there are important immunophenotypic, molecular genetic, and clinical differences, suggesting it is in fact most often a B-cell PTLD. Distinction between HL and HL-like PTLD may be important for clinical management and prognosis.

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