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Transplantation. 2003 Apr 15;75(7):1061-6.

Liver transplantation followed by adjuvant nonmyeloablative hemopoietic stem cell transplantation for advanced primary liver cancer in humans.

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Department of Transplantation Surgery, B56, Huddinge University Hospital, S-141 86 Stockholm, Sweden. gunnar.soderdahl@



Tumor recurrence after orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) in patients with advanced primary liver cancer is common. To achieve an adjuvant graft-versus-tumor effect, the authors investigated whether transplantation of allogeneic peripheral blood stem cells (PSCT) after OLT can induce sustained complete donor chimerism.


Five patients with advanced primary liver cancer were included in the trial. None of the patients had signs of extrahepatic tumor before OLT. However, overall, the extent of surgery, as judged by morphologic examination of the explanted liver, was considered inadequate. A nonmyeloablative preparative regimen of fludarabine combined with total-body irradiation or cyclophosphamide preceded the allogeneic PSCT, which was then performed 16 to 135 days after OLT with human leukocyte antigen-matched donors. Mixed chimerism was monitored weekly by polymerase chain reaction of variable number tandem repeats after PSCT.


In two patients, no engraftment of donor cells was seen, whereas one rejected the cells 2 months after PSCT. In two of the patients, a stable mixed donor chimerism was established. A mild transient graft-versus-host reaction was also noted in two patients. Three of the patients died of progressive disease 7 to 9 months after OLT. The other two are presently alive without recurrence at a follow-up of 26 and 10 months, respectively.


These data suggest that PSCT after OLT is feasible, with low transplant-related morbidity. The rate of nonengraftment or rejection of the transplanted stem cells in this group of patients was three of five. An augmented pretreatment to prevent donor T-cell rejection seems to be necessary in this setting.

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