Development of monoclonal gammopathy precedes the development of Epstein-Barr virus-induced posttransplant lymphoproliferative disorder



Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-induced posttransplant lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD) develops in 3% to 10% of solid organ transplant recipients with a resultant mortality of up to 70%. Unfortunately, there is no current marker which identifies patients who will develop this disease. We therefore conducted a risk factor analysis of variables that might predict the development of PTLD. Specifically, since EBV may cause both PTLD and the development of monoclonal proteins (M protein), we sought to determine if the development of an M protein preceded and therefore might serve as a predictive marker of subsequent PTLD. Before and after liver transplantation, 201 patients were evaluated for the presence of urine and serum M proteins. Patients were followed to monitor the development of PTLD for a mean of 1,733 days. PTLD developed in seven patients (3.5%), three (43%) of whom died from disseminated PTLD. PTLD was classified as polymorphous in six patients and monomorphous in one patient. Fiftyseven patients (28%) developed an M protein after transplantation: five of seven patients (71%) with PTLD and 52/194 (27%) of patients without PTLD. Multivariate risk factor analysis for the development of an M protein after transplantation identified cytomegalovirus (CMV) donor seropositivity (P = 0.0002) and postoperative symptomatic CMV infection (P = 0.019) as risk factors. Whereas EBV serostatus of either the donor or recipient was not found to be a risk factor for the occurrence of either an M protein or PTLD, the development of a serum immunoglobulin M (IgM) M protein (P = 0.04) and of any urine M protein (P = 0.01) was identified by univariate analysis as being associated with the development of PTLD. Further studies are needed to determine the predictive value of M proteins as a marker for PTLD. Until such time, the development of serum or urine M protein should heighten the suspicion of developing PTLD. Copyright © 1996 by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.