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Curr Opin Oncol. 2004 Mar;16(2):106-13.

An update on the role of high-dose therapy with autologous or allogeneic stem cell transplantation in mantle cell lymphoma.

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Harvard Medical School, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 44 Binney Street, Boston, MA 02115, USA.



Early trials of high-dose therapy with autologous stem cell transplantation in mantle cell lymphoma were discouraging, with no clear survival advantage attributable to the procedure. Most early series were plagued by small numbers, retrospective designs, and short follow-up. Also, until recently, allogeneic stem cell transplantation was not an option for most mantle cell lymphoma patients who were too old or infirm to tolerate standard conditioning regimens.


New advances in allogeneic transplantation, particularly reduced-intensity conditioning regimens, have increased the availability of this procedure to patients with mantle cell lymphoma. New evidence has emerged during the last several years that suggests autologous stem cell transplantation in first complete remission may provide a survival advantage over conventional chemotherapy in patients with mantle cell lymphoma. Additionally, investigational strategies such as in vivo purging with rituximab and the use of radioimmunotherapy in conditioning regimens may further increase response rates and, hopefully, survival in mantle cell lymphoma patients. Finally, recent studies suggest the existence of a graft-versus-lymphoma effect in mantle cell lymphoma providing strong scientific rationale for the possible curative potential of allogeneic stem cell transplantation in this disease.


This review focuses on recent advances in allogeneic and autologous transplantation for mantle cell lymphoma. Particular emphasis is placed on the role of autologous transplantation in first complete remission, the role of in vivo purging with rituximab, the utility of radioimmunotherapy and, finally, the evolving strategy of reduced-intensity allogeneic stem cell transplantation.

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