PURPOSE: Establishment of hematopoietic stem-cell (HSC) transplantation from mismatched relatives is feasible for patients with acute leukemia. As our original method of graft processing was unsuitable for large-scale clinical studies, we use automated devices for CD34+ cell purification. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Sixty-seven patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML; 19 complete remission [CR] 1, 14 CR 2, nine CR > 2, 25 in relapse) and 37 with acute lymphoid leukemia (ALL; 14 CR 1, eight CR 2, two CR > 2, 13 in relapse) were conditioned with total-body irradiation, thiotepa, fludarabine, and antithymocyte globulin. Peripheral-blood progenitor cells were mobilized with recombinant human granulocyte colony-stimulating factor and depleted of T-cells using CD34+ cell immunoselection. No post-transplantation graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) prophylaxis was administered. RESULTS: Primary engraftment was achieved in 94 of 101 assessable patients. Six of the seven patients who rejected the primary graft, engrafted after a second transplantation. Overall, 100 of 101 patients engrafted. Acute GvHD developed in eight of 100 patients, and chronic GvHD, in five of 70 assessable patients. Thirty-eight patients died of nonleukemic causes. Relapse occurred in nine of 66 patients receiving transplantation in remission and in 17 of 38 receiving transplantation in relapse. Median follow-up of the 40 patients who survived event-free was 22 months (range, 1 to 65 months). Event-free survival (+/- standard deviation) rate was 48% +/- 8% and 46% +/- 10%, respectively, for the 42 AML and 24 ALL patients receiving transplantation in remission. CONCLUSION: Our transplantation procedure provides reliable, reproducible CD34+ cell purification, high engraftment rates, and prevention of GvHD. The mismatched-related transplant emerges as a viable, alternative source of stem cells for acute leukemia patients without matched donors and/or those who urgently need transplantation.
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