Adoptive immunotherapy with autologous and donor-derived cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) has recently been used to treat Epstein Barr virus (EBV)-positive posttransplant lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD).Methods and results.
We report complete regression of EBV-positive PTLD in an 18-month-old small bowel and liver transplant recipient after one infusion of partially human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-matched EBV-specific CTL grown ex vivo from an EBV seropositive unrelated blood donor. No infusion-related toxicity or evidence of graft-versus-host disease was observed. The tumor showed signs of regression within 1 week and EBV load in peripheral blood dropped to undetectable levels. Limiting dilution analyses (LDA) detected no EBV-specific CTL precursor (CTLp) cells before the infusion, and high numbers of CTLp at 4 hr and 24 hr post-CTL infusion. There was a reversal of the CD4/8 ratio in peripheral blood and an increase in HLA-DR positive CD8 cells. The patient has been in complete remission for 24 months.Conclusion.
If this success is repeated in more PTLD patients, then stored CTL could be used for antiviral and antitumor therapies in immunocompromised patients.