Review of Epstein–Barr virus and post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder post-solid organ transplantation

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Post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD) following solid organ transplantation is an important form of post-transplant malignancy. PTLD is typically associated with Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) and occurs in the setting of profound immunosuppression resulting in a deficiency of EBV-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL). Predisposing factors include EBV mismatch between donor and recipient, use of immunosuppression especially T-cell depletive therapies and genetic predisposition of recipients. The standard approach has been to reduce immunosuppression but is often insufficient to induce tumour regression. Further understanding of the immunobiology of PTLD has resulted in improved monitoring techniques (including EBV viral load determined by polymerase chain reaction) and newer treatment options. Recent work has highlighted a potential role for dendritic cells in both the pathogenesis and treatment of PTLD. Current treatment modalities include adoptive immunotherapy using ex vivo generated autologous EBV-specific CTL or allogeneic CTL, cytokine therapies, antiviral agents, and more recently, rituximab and dendritic-cell based therapies. This review focuses on the developments and progress in the pathogenesis, diagnosis and treatment of PTLD.

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