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Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2003 May;9(5):320-9.

Impact of prophylactic donor leukocyte infusions on mixed chimerism, graft-versus-host disease, and antitumor response in patients with advanced hematologic malignancies treated with nonmyeloablative conditioning and allogeneic bone marrow transplantation.

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Bone Marrow Transplantation Program/Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA.


In an attempt to capture graft-versus-tumor effects without graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), the authors initiated a trial of nonmyeloablative allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT) in patients with advanced hematologic malignancies, with the majority of patients having chemotherapy-refractory disease. Forty-two patients received an HLA-matched related donor BMT after a cyclophosphamide and antithymocyte globulin-based conditioning that also included thymic irradiation for patients who had not received prior mediastinal radiotherapy. Prophylactic donor leukocyte infusion (pDLI) at a dose of 1 x 10(7) CD3(+) cells per kilogram were given beginning 5 weeks post-BMT to 16 patients with mixed chimerism (MC) but without GVHD, whereas 26 patients did not receive pDLI, either because of GVHD or early relapse. Twelve of 16 patients (75%) receiving pDLI had T cell chimerism at the time of pDLI >/=40%. These patients, by day 100 post-BMT, either converted to full donor chimerism (FDC) (n = 10) or had an increase in or stable donor chimerism (n = 2) after pDLI. Four of 4 patients whose T cell chimerism was </=20% at the time of pDLI, lost the graft. In contrast, only 5 of 18 evaluable patients (28%) not receiving a pDLI converted to FDC by day 100 post-BMT, 7 maintained MC, and 10 of an evaluable 22 lost the graft. Patients who had undergone a previous autologous stem cell transplant had a higher rate of conversion to FDC (69% v 31%) and higher incidence of GVHD (69% v 34%) compared with those who did not have a previous autologous SCT. Eleven of 16 patients (69%) who received a pDLI achieved a remission with 50% 1-year progression-free survival rate and 44% 3-year overall survival rate. Nineteen of 42 patients (45%) had >/=grade II acute GVHD, including 12 after BMT and 7 after pDLI. Approximately one third of patients, after having initial MC, eventually lost their donor graft. The authors conclude that (1) pDLI has the potential to convert MC to FDC; (2) sustained remissions can be achieved in patients with chemorefractory hematologic malignancies who receive a pDLI, albeit with a significant risk of acute GVHD; and (3) the degree of donor T cell chimerism at the time of pDLI is predictive of the fate of MC, ie, donor T cell chimerism >/=40% or </=20% at the time of pDLI correlates with conversion of MC or loss of the graft, respectively.

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