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Bone Marrow Transplant. 1999 Sep;24(6):621-7.

Autologous bone marrow transplantation for high risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia: clinical relevance of ex vivo bone marrow purging with monoclonal antibodies and complement.

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  • 1Hematology Department, 'Institut Català d'Oncologia', Barcelona, Spain.


Herein we describe our experience with 75 consecutive autologous BM transplants for patients with high-risk ALL, with special attention to the clinical impact of BM purging. Fifty-two patients received purged BM using monoclonal antibody (MoAb) cocktails and complement, and 23 patients received untreated BM. The distribution of prognostic factors was similar in both groups. Hemopoietic reconstitution was adequate and did not differ in the two groups. Transplant-related mortality was 9.6% and 13% in 'purged' and 'unpurged' groups. Median follow up was 11 months (2-71) and overall actuarial probability of disease-free survival (DFS) at 5 years was 40% (53% relapse probability). We found a beneficial effect of purging in patients over 15 years of age and in patients needing more than 1 month to reach CR1. Patients in CR1 receiving purged marrow had a longer DFS and a lower relapse probability (52% vs 12%, P = 0.02 and 35% vs 86%, P = 0.005, respectively) which were related to the efficacy of the purging procedure (more or less than one log of depletion). In further CR, no advantage of purging has been found. Our data strongly suggest the clinical relevance of BM purging in autologous BMT in high-risk ALL patients and support the need for prospective randomized studies.

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