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J Heart Lung Transplant. 2015 Nov;34(11):1406-14. doi: 10.1016/j.healun.2015.05.021. Epub 2015 Jun 11.

Post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease in heart and lung transplantation: Defining risk and prognostic factors.

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Heart Lung Transplant Unit, St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
Department of Haematology, St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
Department of Anatomical Pathology, St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
Department of Haematology, St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Electronic address:



Heart and lung transplant recipients have among of the highest incidence rates of post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD). Despite this, there is a paucity of data specific to this group. We collated data on heart, lung and heart-lung transplant recipients with PTLD to identify disease features and prognostic factors unique to this group of patients.


Seventy cases of PTLD were identified from a single institution (41 heart, 22 lung, 6 heart-lung and 1 heart-kidney transplant) from 1984 to 2013. Demographics, immunosuppression, treatment, response, complications and survival data were analyzed. Uni- and multivariate Cox regression analyses were performed to identify prognostic factors.


The incidence of PTLD was 7.59% in heart-lung, 5.37% in heart and 3.1% in lung transplant recipients. Extranodal disease (82%) with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (72%) was the most common presentation. Bone marrow involvement (13%) and central nervous system disease (3%) were uncommon. Heart transplant recipients had later onset of PTLD (>1 year post-transplant), with less allograft involvement, compared with lung and heart-lung recipients. Poor prognostic markers were bone marrow involvement (HR 6.75, p < 0.001) and serum albumin <30 g/liter (HR 3.18, p = 0.006). Improved survival was seen with a complete response within 3 months of treatment (HR 0.08, p < 0.001). Five-year overall survival was 29%.


This analysis is the largest to date on PTLD in heart and lung transplant recipients. It provides a detailed analysis of the disease in this group of patients and identifies unique prognostic features to aid risk stratification and guide treatment allocation.


PTLD; heart transplant; lung transplant; post-transplant malignancies

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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