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A Journal on Internal Medicine

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Minerva Medica 2004 February;95(1):53-64

language: English

Post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorders. Molecular analysis of histogenesis and pathogenesis

Capello D., Berra E., Cerri M., Gaidano G.


Aim. Post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorders (PTLD) represent a serious complication of solid organ transplantation. Despite several advances in the biological categorization of PTLD, current classifications are not fully predictive of the clinical behavior of the disease. This study assessed a comprehensive molecular analysis of the clinico-pathologic spectrum of PTLD in order to better clarify the physiopathology of these disorders.
Methods. Fifty-two monoclonal PTLD were investigated for: 1) somatic hypermutation of IgV genes by direct sequencing of IgV rearrangements; 2) expression of BCL6, MUM1 and CD138 proteins by immunohistochemistry; 3) aberrant hypermethylation of DAP-kinase gene by methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR); 4) genotypic characterization of Epstein Barr virus (EBV) in EBV infected PTLD by PCR analysis of the prevalence of deletions in the carboxyterminal portion of the LMP1 gene and for the definition of type-1/type-2 EBV infection.
Results. We report that virtually all monoclonal PTLD originate from B cells that have experienced the germinal center (GC) reaction reflecting different stages of mature B cell differentiation and that tumor development seems frequently associated with EBV and/or other molecular lesions preventing apoptosis of cells that have failed the physiological process of germinal center reaction.
Conclusion. To date, classification of PTLD is mainly based on morphology and conventional immunophenotyping. Because current classification schemes are not fully predictive of prognosis, knowledge of PTLD histogenesis and pathogenesis may potentially contribute to refine the distinction of PTLD into more homogeneous categories with prognostic relevance.

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