Patients with lymphoproliferative disorders following hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) most commonly present with fever and lymphadenopathy within the first 5 months of transplant. Pulmonary post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD) is a particularly aggressive and rapidly progressive disease, with high morbidity and mortality. There are a very limited number of reported pulmonary PTLD cases following HSCT in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Early diagnosis and detection of pulmonary PTLD is critical given its high lethality. However, variable clinical presentations and nonspecific radiographic findings make pulmonary PTLD difficult to distinguish from other more common causes of pulmonary disease in AML patients.Here, we describe a 68-year-old Caucasian man who presented for salvage induction therapy following relapse of his AML after a haploidentical allogeneic HSCT 10 months earlier. He developed recurrent fevers, dry cough, and hypoxemia, with chest computed tomography (CT) showing bibasilar consolidations and increased nodularity without increased lymphadenopathy. His symptoms initially improved with antibiotic and antifungal therapy, but his follow-up chest CT showed progression of disease despite symptomatic improvement. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) was detected in his blood by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and a lung biopsy revealed monomorphic PTLD with B cells positive for EBV. Unfortunately, the patient's condition rapidly deteriorated, and he passed away prior to treatment initiation. To our knowledge, this is the first reported case of an AML patient developing pulmonary PTLD relatively late in his post-transplant course in the setting of relapsed disease and salvage therapy. Pulmonary PTLD, a rare but highly lethal disorder, can imitate the symptoms and radiographic findings of pneumonia, a common diagnosis in immunocompromised AML patients. This case illustrates the importance of considering pulmonary PTLD in the differential diagnosis for pulmonary disease in AML patients with a history of HSCT, especially in the setting of progressive radiographic findings despite broad antibacterial and antifungal therapy. Further, our case demonstrates the importance of biopsy and uninterrupted EBV DNA monitoring in the definitive diagnosis of PTLD, given nonspecific symptomatology and radiographic findings.
View details for DOI 10.1186/s13256-021-02744-2
View details for PubMedID 33773605