Effect of Anti-CD 20 Antibody Rituximab in Patients with Post-Transplant Lymphoproliferative Disorder (PTLD)


Corresponding author: Stephan H.K. Oertel, stephan.oertel@charite.de


Post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorders (PTLD) are a life-threatening complication following solid organ transplantation. Treatment with rituximab, a humanized anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody, has proved to be a promising approach and shown a low toxicity profile. Between February 1999 and April 2002, we conducted a multicentre phase II trial investigating rituximab as single agent in 17 patients with PTLD. Transplanted organs were heart (n = 5), kidney (n = 4), lung (n = 4) and liver (n = 4). Patients were treated with four weekly doses of 375 mg/m2 of rituximab. The mean follow-up time is 24.2 months. Histology was distributed in 10 diffuse large cell-, 2 marginal zone-, 1 Burkitt-like lymphoma, 1 Hodgkin-like PTLD and 3 polymorphic lymphoproliferations. Therapy was well tolerated and no severe adverse events were observed. The mean overall survival period is 37.0 months with 11 patients still living. In total, 9 patients (52.9%) achieved a complete remission, with a mean duration of 17.8 months. Partial remission was observed in 1 patient, minor remission in 2 patients, no change in 3 patients and 1 patient experienced progressive disease. Two patients relapsed, at intervals 3 and 5 months after obtaining complete remission. Rituximab proved to be well tolerated and effective in the treatment of PTLD.