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J Clin Oncol. 1996 Aug;14(8):2224-33.

Highly purified CD34-positive cells reconstitute hematopoiesis.

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Oncology Center, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.



The objective of this study was to characterize CD34+ cell grafts, obtained using a novel technique, from children undergoing autologous bone marrow transplantation (BMT) for cancer therapy. In particular, we wanted to determine if the CD34+ marrow cell grafts generated hematopoietic reconstitution, since a positive result would motivate further development and use of this methodology.


This pilot feasibility clinical trial involved 13 patients < or = 25 years of age with advanced solid tumors, including seven children with neuroblastoma. Harvested bone marrow underwent immunomagnetic CD34+ selection.


In three of 13 enrolled patients, low purities of the CD34+ preparations disqualified the use of the CD34+ marrow grafts. Ten patients received myeloablative chemotherapy with etoposide, carboplatin, and cyclophosphamide, then were transplanted with CD34+ marrow grafts. In the 10 patients transplanted with CD34(+)-selected cells, the CD34+ cell purity (nucleated RBCs excluded) in the cell graft preparation was 91% total cell recovery from the starting light-density cells 2.2%, CD34+ cell recovery 38%, colony-forming unit-granulocyte-macrophage (CFU-GM) recovery 23%, and estimated tumor-cell depletion 2.6 logs (medians). The CD34+ marrow grafts administered to these patients contained a median of 2.3 x 10(6) nucleated cells, 1.4 x 10(6) CD34+ cells, and 1.3 x 10(4) CFU-GM per kilogram patient weight. Most patients experienced only the toxicities previously observed with this myeloblative chemotherapy regimen, although two unusual toxicities were observed. All 10 patients transplanted with CD34+ cell grafts engrafted.


The CD34+ purified grafts were enriched in stem/progenitor cells, with five of these 10 preparations containing > or = 94% CD34+ cells. Engraftment with CD34(+)-purified cell grafts as pure as 99% confirms that autologous CD34+ cells, alone, are sufficient to provide hematopoietic rescue for myeloablated patients. The best purification results were obtained on small marrow harvests from patients with neuroblastoma. The engraftment of highly purified CD34+ cells obtained by this technology and the antitumor effect of the transplant, by which two of 10 poor prognosis patients remain clinically free of tumor, have stimulated further clinical trials.

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