Post-transplantation lymphoproliferative disease in heart and heart-lung transplant recipients: 30-Year experience at Stanford University

Shao Zhou Gao, Sandra V. Chaparro, Mark Perlroth, Jose G. Montoya, Joan L. Miller, Sue DiMiceli, Trevor Hastie, Phillip E. Oyer, John Schroeder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Scopus citations


Background: Post-transplantation lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD) is an important source of morbidity and mortality in transplant recipients, with a reported incidence of 0.8% to 20%. Risk factors are thought to include immunosuppressive agents and viral infection. This study attempts to evaluate the impact of different immunosuppressive regimens, ganciclovir prophylaxis and other potential risk factors in the development of PTLD. Methods: We reviewed the records of 1,026 (874 heart, 152 heart-lung) patients who underwent transplantation at Stanford between 1968 and 1997. Of these, 57 heart and 8 heart-lung recipients developed PTLD. During this interval, 4 different immunosuppressive regimens were utilized sequentially. In January 1987, ganciclovir prophylaxis for cytomegalovirus serologic-positive patients was introduced. Other potential risk factors evaluated included age, gender, prior cardiac diagnoses, HLA match, rejection frequency and calcium-channel blockade. Results: No correlation of development of PTLD was found with different immunosuppression regimens consisting of azathioprine, prednisone, cyclosporine, OKT3 induction, tacrolimus and mycophenolate mofetil. A trend suggesting an influence of ganciclovir on the prevention of PTLD was not statistically significant (p = 0.12). Recipient age and rejection frequency, as well as high-dose cyclosporine immunosuppression, were significantly (p < 0.02) associated with PTLD development. The prevalence of PTLD at 13.3 years was 15%. Conclusions: The overall incidence of PTLD was 6.3%. It was not altered by sequential modifications in treatment regimens. Younger recipient age and higher rejection frequency were associated with increased PTLD occurrence. The 15% prevalence of PTLD in 58 long-term survivors was unexpectedly high.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)505-514
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Heart and Lung Transplantation
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Transplantation


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