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T cell-depleted unrelated donor bone marrow transplantation for acute myeloid leukemia.

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Bone Marrow Transplant Unit, Oncology Day Beds, Bristol Children's Hospital, United Bristol Healthcare Trust, UK.


The outcome for 39 patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in remission who had CAMPATH 1M T cell-depleted unrelated donor bone marrow transplantations (BMTs) is described. Conditioning was mainly with cyclophosphamide (120 mg/kg) and total body irradiation (TBI) (14.4 Gy), but 5 patients received busulfan in place of TBI and 200 mg/kg cyclophosphamide. All patients received cyclosporin, and short-course methotrexate was given to recipients of mismatched grafts. The patient population was predominantly pediatric (median age, 10 years), but one third of the patients was aged 15 years or above. Twenty-five patients were in second complete remission (CR2), and 14 had high-risk CR1 disease (primarily failed remission induction or antecedent myelodysplastic syndrome, often with complex cytogenetic abnormalities). Both recipient and donor were cytomegalovirus seronegative in 15 of 37 cases (38%); 51% of patients were matched for HLA class I and II. Grade II to IV acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) occurred in 24% of patients; chronic GVHD occurred in 5 of 31 evaluable patients (16%), 4 extensive and 1 limited. Relapse occurred in 5 cases (13%); 1 of these 5 patients survives, 24 months after a second unrelated donor transplantation. Two of these relapses were associated with secondary graft failure (incidence rate, 5%). All patients engrafted primarily. Severe viral infection was the major transplant-associated complication, with 12 episodes in 9 patients, 5 of them lethal. Twenty-five patients survive at a median follow-up of 44 months (range, 2-102 months), with estimated actuarial overall and disease-free survival rates at 44 months of 61% (SE 8%) and 57% (SE 8%), respectively. Nineteen patients are more than 2 years post-BMT and may be cured. The functional status of long-term survivors is excellent, with 19 of 21 patients who survive 6 months or more in full-time employment or full-time students. These encouraging results suggest that in patients lacking a sibling donor, unrelated donor BMT for AML in remission achieves survival figures as good as or better than those reported on patients with autologous stem cell transplantation, and that T-cell depletion of grafts is associated with a low relapse rate and an excellent functional status. However, only a randomized study comparing unrelated donor BMT and auto-grafting will resolve which of these treatment strategies is better for patients with AML.

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