International Journal of Hematology

DOI: 10.1007/s12185-019-02682-2 Pages: 313-321

T-cell large granular lymphocyte leukemia in solid organ transplant recipients: case series and review of the literature

1. University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Surgical, Medical and Dental Department of Morphological Sciences, Section of Nephrology

2. University Hospital of Modena, Nephrology Dialysis and Transplant Unit

3. University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, University Hospital of Modena, Section of Hematology, Surgical, Medical and Dental Department of Morphological Sciences

Correspondence to:
Gaetano Alfano



T-cell large granular lymphocyte (T-LGL) leukemia is a rare clonal proliferation of cytotoxic lymphocytes rarely described in solid organ transplant (SOT). We reviewed records from 656 kidney transplant recipients in follow-up at our Center from January 1998 to July 2017. In addition, we researched, through PubMed, further reports of T-LGL leukemia in SOT from March 1981 to December 2017. We identified six cases of T-LGL leukemia in our cohort of patients and 10 in the literature. This lymphoproliferative disorder was detected in one combined liver–kidney, one liver and 14–kidney transplant recipients. Median age at presentation was 46.5 years (IQR 39.2–56.9). The disease developed after a median age of 10 years (IQR 4.9–12) from transplantation. Anemia was the most common presentation (62.5%) followed by lymphocytosis (43.7%) and thrombocytopenia (31.2%). Splenomegaly was reported in 43.7% of the patients. Eight patients (50%) who experienced severe symptoms were treated with non-specific immunosuppressive agents. Six of them (75%) had a good outcome, whereas two (25%) remained red blood cell transfusion dependent. No cases progressed to aggressive T-LGL leukemia or died of cancer at the end of follow-up. These results suggest that T-LGL leukemia is a rare but potentially disruptive hematological disorder in the post-transplant period.

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