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Hematol J. 2000;1(2):87-94.

The impact of autologous stem cell transplantation on the prognosis of mantle cell lymphoma: a joint analysis of two prospective studies with 46 patients.

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  • 1Second Department of Medicine, University of Kiel, Germany.



The purpose of this analysis was to investigate if early sequential high-dose therapy with autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) can improve the poor prognosis of patients with disseminated mantle cell lymphoma (MCL).


A joint analysis of two parallel single center studies was performed. Both were characterized by a sequential high-dose therapy consisting of an intensive chemotherapy ('HAM' or 'Dexa-BEAM') for mobilization of peripheral blood stem cells and induction of minimal disease followed by a total body irradiation-containing myeloablative regimen and ASCT. Forty-six patients with reference panel-confirmed stage III/IV MCL were included. Thirty-four patients were accrued to the protocol immediately after diagnosis ('upfront ASCT' group). These 34 patients received a standard first-line regimen prior to mobilization. The remaining 12 patients were put on the protocol later during the course of their disease ('delayed ASCT' group).


All patients were in remission after mobilization chemotherapy and proceeded to ASCT; there were no exclusions due to poor response, poor mobilization, or patient refusal. With a follow-up of 24 (2-73) months post transplant, the event-free and overall survival probabilities at 2 years were 77 and 100% for the upfront ASCT group compared to 30% (P=0.0007) and 54% (P=0.0016) for the delayed ASCT group. Event-free and overall survival tended to be longer in the upfront ASCT group than in the delayed ASCT group also if calculated from initial diagnosis (76 and 93% vs 42 and 63%, respectively, at 4 years after diagnosis; median follow-up 35 months), although this was not statistically significant. Besides timing of ASCT, only spleen size was identified as an independent predictor of survival by univariate and multivariate analysis.


ASCT is not curative but may improve the prognosis of patients with MCL if performed as part of an intensive first-line treatment strategy. In contrast, the benefits of this approach for salvaging individuals with relapsed disease appear to be limited.

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