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Ann Hematol. 2002 Jul;81(7):410-3. Epub 2002 Jul 12.

Nonmyeloablative allogeneic stem cell transplantation for refractory Hodgkin's lymphoma complicated by interleukin-2 responsive progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy.

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Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Program, Division of Hematology-Oncology and Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, 16 Penn Tower, 3400 Spruce Street, Philadelphia 19104, USA.


Nonmyeloablative allogeneic stem cell transplantation (NMASCT) can be used to exploit the graft-versus-tumor (GVT) potential of allogeneic donor cells in the setting of reduced conditioning regimen toxicity. This approach is particularly attractive for patients who have received extensive prior therapy and are poor candidates for traditional allogeneic stem cell transplantation. However, toxicity in heavily pretreated patients remains uncertain. Additional immunosuppression in already immunocompromised patients may result in unexpected toxicity. We report a case of probable progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) responsive to interleukin-2 (IL-2) following a NMASCT in a 29-year-old woman with relapsed Hodgkin's lymphoma. The patient developed severe neurological symptoms approximately 6 weeks following NMASCT associated with low CD4+ cell counts and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was consistent with PML. IL-2 therapy resulted in increasing CD4+ counts and progressive resolution of neurological symptoms. Disruption of IL-2 therapy led to neurological deterioration, which responded to reinstitution of IL-2 therapy. The patient's lymphoma initially progressed following NMASCT, but has responded to donor leukocyte infusions (DLI). This case reiterates the potent GVT potential of NMASCT in patients with Hodgkin's disease. However, it demonstrates the potential for severe complications related to immunosuppression, especially in heavily pretreated patients. The toxicity after NMASCT should not be understated and will need to be explored further.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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