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Bone Marrow Transplant. 2006 Feb;37(4):425-31.

Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for natural killer-cell lineage neoplasms.

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Division of Molecular Medicine, Aichi Cancer Center, Kanokoden, Nagoya, Japan.


Neoplasms of natural killer (NK)-lineage are rare. Their prognosis is generally poor except for cases of solitary nasal NK-cell lymphoma. The NK-cell Tumor Study Group performed a survey in Japan on patients diagnosed between 1994 and 1998. Of 228 patients selected for analysis, 40 underwent HSCT (15 allografts and 25 autografts). The underlying diseases were myeloid/NK cell precursor acute leukemia (n = 4), blastic NK-cell lymphoma (n = 11), aggressive NK-cell leukemia (n = 3), and nasal-type extranodal NK-cell lymphoma (n = 22). At the time of HSCT, 22 patients were in complete remission (CR), 11 were in relapse, and seven were primary refractory. All patients received myeloablative conditioning regimens including total-body irradiation. Sixteen died of disease progression, and six of treatment-related causes. Overall, 4-year survival was 39% with a median follow-up of 50 months; this was significantly better than that of patients who did not undergo HSCT (21%, P = 0.0003). For patients transplanted in CR, the 4-year overall survival was 68%, which was significantly better than that of patients who went into CR but did not undergo HSCT (P = 0.03). These findings suggest that the HSCT is a promising treatment strategy for NK-cell lineage.

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