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Am J Transplant. 2012 Nov;12(11):3061-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-6143.2012.04197.x. Epub 2012 Oct 16.

A 16-year multi-institutional study of the role of age and EBV status on PTLD incidence among pediatric heart transplant recipients.

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Loma Linda University Children's Hospital, Loma Linda, California, USA.


The objective was to determine the incidence and hazard for posttransplant lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD) in a study of 3170 pediatric primary heart transplants between 1993 and 2009 at 35 institutions in the Pediatric Heart Transplant Study. 147 of 151 reported malignancy events were classified as PTLD. Overall freedom from PTLD was 98.5% at 1 year, 94% at 5 years and 90% at 10 years. Freedom from PTLD was lowest in children (ages 1 to < 10 years) versus infants (<1 year) and adolescents (10 to < 18 years) with children at highest risk for PTLD with a relative risk of 2.4 compared to infants and 1.7 compared to adolescents. Positive donor EBV status was a strong risk factor for PTLD in the seronegative recipient, but risk magnitude was dependent on recipient age at the time of transplantation. Nearly 25% of EBV seronegative recipients of EBV+ donors at ages 4-7 at transplantation developed some form of PTLD. The overall risk for PTLD declined in the most recent transplant era (2001-2009, p = 0.003). These findings indicate that EBV status and the age of the recipient at the time of transplantation are important variables in the development of PTLD in the pediatric heart transplant recipient.

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