Salvage chemotherapy for refractory or relapsed post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder in patients after solid organ transplantation with a combination of carboplatin and etoposide


Dr Stephan Oertel, Humboldt Universität Berlin, Universitätsklinikum Charite- Campus Virchow, Medizinische Klinik mit Schwerpunkt Hämatologie und Onkologie, Augustenburger Platz 1, 13353 Berlin, Germany. E-mail:


Summary.  This pilot study assessed the feasibility and efficacy of salvage chemotherapy (carboplatin and etoposide; CE) supported by granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (GCSF) in patients with refractory or relapsed post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD) following solid organ transplantation. Intensified salvage regimens were not feasible for these patients, due to their immunosuppressive conditions and potential organ (especially kidney and bone marrow) malfunctions. Salvage chemotherapy consisted of carboplatin [area under the curve (AUC) 4], on day 1, etoposide (120 mg/m2), on days 1–3 and GCSF (5 μg/kg) starting on day 5. This therapeutic regimen was planned to be repeated every 21 d. Nine patients (seven with refractory, two with relapsed disease) were enrolled. Five patients were heart transplant recipients, three liver transplant recipients and one patient had been a double lung transplant recipient. Five patients achieved a complete remission (CR), with follow-up at 92, 39, 55+, 17 and 9+ months. One patient showed stable disease after two cycles of CE and one patient had progressive disease. Two patients experienced early deaths, after the first and third cycles of chemotherapy respectively. One died of septic complications and one because of a perforated intestine, which had been infiltrated by lymphoma. In respect of the difficulties experienced in treating patients with refractory or relapsed PTLD after solid organ transplantation, the combination of carboplatin and etopoide with GCSF support (filgrastim) proved to be an effective regimen.