Bone marrow transplantation for the treatment of leukemia is increasingly successful in rendering patients disease free. However, it has become evident that the associated severe immunosuppression predisposes this population to an increased risk for other neoplastic disorders. We report on six patients in whom non-Hodgkin's lymphoma of the tonsillar region developed within 5 months after T-cell – depleted bone marrow transplantation for the treatment of leukemia at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center from October 1990 to October 1992. These patients initially had what appeared to be infectious exudative pharyngitis/tonsillitis; however, they did not improve with medical therapy. Because of the persistence of pharyngitis/tonsillitis in association with cervical lymphadenopathy and odynophagia, the patients underwent definitive biopsy in the form of tonsillectomy, cervical lymph node biopsy, or both. Histopathologic review revealed non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. An association with Epstein-Barr virus has been noted in five of these patients. This article is aimed at alerting the clinician to consider the diagnosis of lymphoma in a patient with persistent pharyngitis/tonsillitis despite adequate medical therapy after bone marrow transplantation. (OTOLARYNGOL HEAD NECK SURG 1995;112:544-8.) © 1995, American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery Foundation, Inc. All rights reserved.
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