American Journal of Transplantation vol:13 issue:5 pages:1305-1316
Posttransplant patients are at risk of developing a potentially life-threatening posttransplantation lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD), most often of diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) morphology and associated with Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) infection. The aim of this study was to characterize the clinicopathological and molecular-genetic characteristics of posttransplant DLBCL and to elucidate whether EBV(+) and EBV(-) posttransplant DLBCL are biologically different. We performed gene expression profiling studies on 48 DLBCL of which 33 arose posttransplantation (PT-DLBCL; 72% EBV+) and 15 in immunocompetent hosts (IC-DLBCL; none EBV+). Unsupervised hierarchical analysis showed clustering of samples related to EBV-status rather than immune status. Except for decreased T cell signaling these cases were inseparable from EBV(-) IC-DLBCL. In contrast, a viral response signature clearly segregated EBV(+) PT-DLBCL from EBV(-) PT-DLBCL and IC-DLBCL cases that were intermixed. The broad EBV latency profile (LMP1+/EBNA2+) was expressed in 59% of EBV(+) PT-DLBCL and associated with a more elaborate inflammatory response compared to intermediate latency (LMP1+/EBNA2-). Inference analysis revealed a role for innate and tolerogenic immune responses (including VSIG4 and IDO1) in EBV(+) PT-DLBCL. In conclusion we can state that the EBV signature is the most determining factor in the pathogenesis of EBV(+) PT-DLBCL.