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J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2003 Nov;25(11):910-3.

Isolated CNS relapse following stem cell transplantation for juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia.

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Department of Pediatrics, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.


A 1-year-old girl with juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML) underwent allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT) from her HLA-matched brother. A few months after BMT she experienced a bone marrow relapse that did not respond to withdrawal of immunosuppression. To enhance the graft-versus-leukemia (GVL) effect, she underwent peripheral stem cell transplantation (PSCT) from the same donor, using a nonmyeloablative conditioning regimen. She achieved clinical remission and developed chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), which was treated with prednisone and cyclosporine A. One year after PSCT she experienced an isolated central nervous system (CNS) relapse. She was treated with intrathecal Ara-C followed by craniospinal irradiation and achieved a third clinical remission. While extramedullary relapses have been described in JMML, this is the first report of a CNS relapse. Based on this case and others in the literature, the authors suggest that newer therapies are changing the natural history of JMML. By manipulating the GVL effect it is possible to achieve a prolonged bone marrow remission, but only at the expense of unmasking the risk of late extramedullary relapse.

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