Send to

Choose Destination
Clin Cancer Res. 2002 Jul;8(7):2052-60.

Infusion of CD4+ donor lymphocytes induces the expansion of CD8+ donor T cells with cytolytic activity directed against recipient hematopoietic cells.

Author information

Center for Hematologic Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.



Donor lymphocyte infusions (DLIs) provide effectivetherapy for patients with relapsed chronic myeloid leukemia after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation. Previous studies have suggested that depletion of CD8+ T cells from the infused donor lymphocytes can reduce the incidence of graft-versus-host disease associated with DLI without reducing antileukemia activity. In this situation however, the immune effector cells responsible for tumor rejection have not been identified. The goal of this study was to characterize these effector populations.


We studied three representative patients with relapsed chronic myeloid leukemia who achieved complete molecular remission after receiving CD8+ T-cell-depleted DLI from HLA-identical sibling donors. Effector T cells were characterized in patient samples after in vitro stimulation and functional assessment. T-cell clones relevant to the immune response were then isolated and further characterized.


Analysis of peripheral blood samples collected after DLI indicated the presence of a high frequency of circulating host-reactive cytolytic CD8+ T cells secreting IFN-gamma. These HLA class I-restricted CTLs were specific for recipient minor histocompatibility antigens (mHAs) because they did not recognize target cells of donor origin. One CTL clone was further expanded in vitro and shown to recognize a broadly expressed mHA presented by HLA-B5701. Using a molecular approach, we demonstrated that this clone was expanded in peripheral blood and marrow after DLI. It was not detected before DLI.


These results indicate that CD4+ DLI elicits a potent allogeneic response mediated by mHA-specific CD8+ T cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center