Objective: Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH) is an unusual indication for orthotopic liver transplantation in children. Data from limited ease reports suggest that orthotopic liver transplantation for LCH is associated with excellent survival rates and a low incidence of disease recurrence. However, in our experience, children who have transplantation for LCH appeared to experience a high incidence of refractory rejection and posttransplant lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD). Study design: Data from 398 liver transplants performed in 298 children younger than 15 years of age were reviewed to determine the presence of risk factors for PTLD in patients with LCH and other causes of liver failure. Results: The incidence of PTLD was significantly higher in children who received transplants for LCH compared with all indications (p < 0.001) and specific indications that were associated with the development of PTLD (p < 0.002). Among patients in whom PTLD developed, there was no significant difference in the incidence of primary Epstein-Barr virus infections in patients who receive transplantation for LCH (4/4, 100%) versus all other indications (12/14, 86%). Children who had transplantation for LCH were older than those who had transplantation for other indications (LCH median age 3.1 years, other indications 1 year). The incidence of rejection, especially refractory rejection, was greater in patients who had transplantation for LCH (100% and 50%, respectively) compared with those who had transplantation for other indications (70% and 10%, p < 0.02 for refractory rejection). Conclusions: Patients who had transplantation for liver disease related to LCH experienced a 67% long-term survival (median follow up 5.8 years, range 2.1 to 7.5 years). Recurrent LCH occurred in only 35% of patients and was easily managed. However, PTLD developed in two thirds of these patients, perhaps in part because of the high incidence of refractory rejection. This series therefore demonstrates an association between a primary disease process and the development of PTLD. Although the data indicate that children with LCH-induced liver failure benefit from transplantation, special care must be exercised in screening for and preemptive treatment of PTLD.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health