Posttransplantation Lymphoproliferative Disorder: Endoscopic Findings

O'Connor, Judith A.; Cogley, Catherine; Burton, Mark*; Lancaster-Weiss, Kristen*; Cordle, Richard A.

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition:
Rapid Communications

Background: posttransplantation lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD) may manifest a variety of nonspecific symptoms and must be suspected in the patient who undergoes solid organ transplantation. Common sites of occurrence include the gastrointestinal tract, the central nervous system, and lymphoid tissue of the oral pharynx, mediastinum, and mesentery. The large incidence of gastrointestinal involvement provides an opportunity for endoscopic diagnosis. This is the description of a characteristic endoscopic finding in patients who have undergone liver transplantation who are under evaluation for suspected PTLD.

Methods: During a 2-year period, 27 liver transplantations were performed in 24 pediatric patients. Fourteen patients underwent endoscopic evaluation. Indications for endoscopy included abdominal pain, vomiting, hematemesis, irritability, growth failure, anemia, occult blood loss, and suspected PTLD. Biopsy specimens were obtained from any endoscopically detected abnormality and from the duodenum, gastric antrum, esophagus, terminal ileum, cecum, and rectum. Specimens with suspected PTLD were evaluated with Epstein–Barr virus latent membrane stain.

Results: Six patients were found to have a characteristic lesion, which was raised, rubbery, and erythematous, with a central ulceration. Lesions were singular or multiple and ranged from 5 to 15 mm in diameter. Microscopic evaluation revealed a monotonous proliferation of lymphocytes. All specimens were positive for Epstein–Barr virus latent membrane protein stain. Stains for cytomegalovirus were negative. Biopsy specimens from the eight patients without identified characteristic lesions were negative for PTLD.

Conclusions: Panendoscopy is a useful tool for the diagnosis and treatment of gastrointestinal PTLD. Endoscopy is easily accomplished, may provide an instantaneous result if the characteristic lesion is identified, and provides tissue for disease classification. Patients with unexplained gastrointestinal signs or symptoms should undergo panendoscopy for suspected PTLD.

Author Information

San Antonio Military Pediatric Center, San Antonio, Texas; Department of Pathology, Wilford Hall Medical Center, San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A.

Received May 24, 1999;

revised September 1, 1999, and March 6 and July 10, 2000; accepted August 4, 2000.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Judith A. O'Connor, Dept of Pediatrics/MMNP, Wilford Hall Medical Center, 2200 Bergquist Drive, Suite 1, Lackland AFB, TX 78236-5300, U.S.A. (e-mail:

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy of the Department of Defense or any other Department of the United States government.

© 2000 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.