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Which patients with adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia should undergo a hematopoietic stem cell transplantation? Case-based discussion.

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  • 1Ireland Cancer Center, Univ. Hospitals of Cleveland, 11100 Euclid Ave., Wearn Bldg., Room 341, Cleveland, OH 44106-5089, USA. hillard.lazarus@case.edu

Abstract

The decision to proceed to transplant for adult patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is not clear-cut. Relapse and nonrelapse mortality continue to plague the outcome of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) even when undertaken in complete remission (CR). Those considered to be at high risk for relapse often are considered for HSCT in first complete remission (CR1) while those at lower risk may not be referred until they have relapsed, when their chances for cure are very poor. In some patients who have a suitable histocompatible sibling, disease- or patient-related factors may override the potential benefit of allogeneic HSCT. Because many patients do not have a suitable histocompatible sibling, one has to consider the relative merits of autologous transplantation versus use of an alternative allogeneic stem cell source, such as a matched-unrelated donor (MUD), umbilical cord blood (UCB) donor, or haploidentical donor. Deciding among these options in comparison to chemotherapy even in high-risk patients is difficult. In the review, the risks and benefits of these choices are discussed to determine whether and by what means to proceed to HSCT in adult patients with ALL who are in CR1. Presented are two patients with ALL and a discussion of how the data we provide would lead to a decision about the selection of therapy.

PMID:
18024663
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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