Since 75% of patients with high-risk acute leukemia do not have a human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-identical sibling, alternative sources for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) are matched unrelated donors (MUD), unrelated umbilical cord blood (UD-UCB) and one HLA haplotype mismatched family members (haploidentical). The chance of finding a suitable donor in the international voluntary donor registries is limited by frequency of the HLA phenotype and the time required to identify the right donor from a potential panel, to establish eligibility and to harvest the cells. In adult MUD recipients, event-free survival ranges up to 50% and refers only to patients who undergo transplant, without taking into account those who do not find a donor. Umbilical cord blood offers the advantages of easy procurement, the absence of risks to donors, the reduced risk of transmitting infections, immediate availability of cryopreserved samples and acceptance of mismatches at two of the six antigens. Although UD-UCB transplantation is a viable option for children, it is seldom considered for adults. The great divergency between body weight and the number of hematopoietic cells in a standard cord blood unit, particularly if associated with a two-antigen mismatch, increases the risk of graft failure and delays hematopoietic reconstitution. Work on full-haplotype mismatched transplants has been proceeding for over 20 years. Originally, outcome in leukemia patients was disappointing because of high incidence of severe graft-vs.-host disease in T-replete transplants and high rejection rates in T-cell-depleted transplants. The breakthrough came with the use of a megadose of T-cell-depleted progenitor cells after a high-intensity conditioning regimen. Treating end-stage patients inevitably confounded clinical outcome in the early pilot studies. Today, high-risk acute leukemia patients are treated at less advanced stages of disease, receive a reasonably well tolerated conditioning regimen, and benefit from advances in post-transplant immunological reconstitution. All these factors contribute to markedly reduce transplant-related mortality. Overall, event-free survival and transplant-related mortality compare favorably with reports from unrelated matched transplants. T-cell-depleted megadose stem cell transplant from a mismatched family member, who is immediately available, can be offered as a viable option to candidates with high-risk acute leukemias.
Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation from alternative sources in adults with high-risk acute leukemia. / F. Aversa; Y. Reisner; MF. Martelli. - In: BLOOD CELLS, MOLECULES, & DISEASES. - ISSN 1079-9796. - 33(2004), pp. 294-302.
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