Posttransplant Lymphoproliferative Disorder in Pancreas Transplantation: A Single-Center Experience

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Posttransplant lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD) is a rare, serious complication of transplantation. The characteristics and associations of this disease in pancreas recipients have not been extensively studied.


From January 1988 through December 2002, 787 pancreas and 569 kidney-pancreas transplants were performed at our institution. Eighteen pancreas recipients developed polymorphic PTLD or malignant lymphoma. Data on clinical course, organ involvement, molecular characteristics, and association with immunosuppression and recent cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection were compiled from the institutional transplant database. Patient survival was compared to recipients of liver and kidney transplants at the same center by using Kaplan-Meier analysis.


The 5-year cumulative incidence of PTLD in simultaneous pancreas-kidney, pancreas after kidney, and pancreas transplant alone recipients was 2.5%, 1.2%, and 1.0%, respectively (P = 0.23). A noticeably, but not significantly, higher cumulative incidence was seen in the more recent era since 1995 (2.1% vs. 0.9%, P = 0.15). PTLD in pancreas recipients carried a worse prognosis than in liver or kidney for recipients B-cell, early-onset, and Epstein Barr virus-positive lesions. PTLD was more aggressive in pancreas recipients, with a higher stage at presentation and a trend to more bone marrow involvement. There appeared to be a tendency toward association with recent CMV infection. Since 1995, PTLD recipients have had a lower exposure to antilymphocyte preparations (25 ± 5 vs. 10 ± 0.8)(P < 0.05).


PTLD in pancreas recipients remains a rare but aggressive disease, and carries a worse prognosis in comparison to other transplant recipients. These heavily immunosuppressed patients, who often face multiple transplants, may be at greater risk; CMV infection may play an antecedent role.

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