What are Post-Transplant Lymphoproliferative Disorders (PTLD)?
Post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorders (PTLD) are a group of conditions that may occur after an organ or stem cell transplant. These disorders are characterized by an uncontrolled proliferation of lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) and are generally linked to immune suppression, which is a necessary part of preventing organ rejection after transplantation. Post-Transplant Lymphoproliferative Disorders can range from benign (non-cancerous) lymphoid hyperplasia to aggressive forms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Symptoms of PTLD vary based on the type and location of the lymphoproliferative growth and may include:
- Swelling of lymph nodes.
- Fever, night sweats, and unexplained weight loss.
- Abdominal pain or swelling.
- Fatigue and general weakness.
- Gastrointestinal symptoms, depending on the affected area.
- Respiratory symptoms if the lungs are involved.
Disease Aetiology (Causes)
The primary risk factor for Post-Transplant Lymphoproliferative Disorders is immunosuppression, which is essential in transplant recipients to prevent organ rejection. Additionally, infection with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a significant contributor to the development of PTLD.
Diagnosing Post-Transplant Lymphoproliferative Disorders typically involves:
- Physical Examination: Checking for enlarged lymph nodes and other symptoms.
- Blood Tests: Including tests for EBV viral load.
- Imaging Studies: Such as CT scans, PET scans, or MRI to locate lymphoproliferative growths.
- Biopsy: A tissue sample from the affected area is necessary for a definitive diagnosis.
Treatment of PTLD depends on the type, location, and aggressiveness of the disorder:
- Reduction of Immunosuppression: Often the first step in treatment to allow the immune system to control lymphocyte proliferation.
- Antiviral Therapy: If EBV is involved, antiviral medications may be used.
- Chemotherapy and/or Radiation Therapy: For aggressive forms of PTLD.
- Monoclonal Antibodies: Such as rituximab, particularly in B-cell PTLD.
- Surgical Removal: In cases where the growth is localized and accessible.
What support can we give for Post-Transplant Lymphoproliferative Disorders?
Post-Transplant Lymphoproliferative Disorders is a rare cancer, meaning it is not as well-known as other forms of cancer. Without a Ribbon is an Australian organisation that provides support for individuals who suffer from rare cancers. So, we provide a designated platform for Warriors to obtain information specific to their Rare Cancer. We also provide annual opportunities for our Warriors to meet and learn from each other. If you suffer from rare cancer such as Post-Transplant Lymphoproliferative Disorders, we can help and support you through your journey thanks to the generous donations we receive. Click the link below to sign up and become a Warrior today!
You can help us with your donation:
Without a Ribbon is a charity that works hard to aid those who suffer from rare cancers. You can help our cause in a variety of ways: