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Cancer. 1995 Oct 15;76(8):1344-51.

Epstein-Barr virus-related localized hepatic lymphoproliferative disorders after liver transplantation.

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Department of Medical Oncology and Hematology, Service des Maladies Sanguines Immunitaires et Tumorales, Hospital Paul Brousse, Villejuif, France.



Localized hepatic post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease is uncommon. In such cases, lymphocyte Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection may promote an intrahepatic B-lymphocyte monoclonal expansion.


From 1990 to 1991, 149 patients underwent liver transplantation for various liver failures. Immunosuppressive therapy was azathioprine, cyclosporine-A, and methylprednisolone. Rejection episodes were treated by methylprednisolone bolus injection with or without OKT3 therapy. Three patients (2%), aged 38, 50, and 47 years, developed lymphoproliferative disease localized in the transplanted livers within 5 months of liver transplantation (a patient had been immunosuppressed for 3 years before the lymphoproliferative disease occurred within the third allografted liver). Diagnoses were obtained by fine needle aspiration. In situ hybridizations were performed with the kappa/lambda mRNA-kit FITC DAKO (DAKO Corporation, Carpenteria, CA) and the early mRNA-EBER oligonucleotide FITC DAKO:


Lymphoproliferative diseases were all classified as diffuse polymorphic large cell lymphomas in the working formulation and considered as lymphoproliferative disorders with polymorphic large cells in the Frizzera classification. All large cells were CD20-positive, CD45-positive and CD45RO-negative. In situ mRNA light chain hybridization demonstrated monoclonality in two cases. In all three cases, EBV mRNA was detected in large cells by early mRNA-EBV (EBER) in situ hybridization. Patients were treated with doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide, vincristine, and VM26. Two patients maintained a complete remission 3 years after six cycles of chemotherapy, whereas one died of an early opportunistic infection.


Epstein-Barr virus may play a special role in the pathogenesis of lymphoproliferative disorders that develop in patients who have undergone liver transplantation.

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