Patients who undergo transplantation with haploidentical "three-loci" mismatched T-cell-depleted bone marrow (BM) are at high risk for graft failure. To overcome the host-versus-graft barrier, we increased the size of the graft inoculum, which has been shown to be a major factor in controlling both immune rejection and stem cell competition in murine models. Seventeen patients (mean age, 23.2 years; range, 6 to 51 years) with end-stage chemoresistant leukemia were received transplants of a combination of BM with recombinant human granulocyte colony-stimulating factor-mobilized peripheral blood progenitor cells from HLA-haploidentical "three-loci" incompatible family members. The average concentration of colony-forming unit-granulocyte-macrophage in the final inoculum was sevenfold to 10-fold greater than that found in BM alone. The sole graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) prophylaxis consisted of T-cell depletion of the graft by the soybean agglutination and E-rosetting technique. The conditioning regimen included total body irradiation in a single fraction at a fast dose rate, antithymocyte globulin, cyclophosphamide and thiotepa to provide both immunosuppression and myeloablation. One patient rejected the graft and the other 16 had early and sustained full donor-type engraftment. One patient who received a much greater quantity of T lymphocytes than any other patient died from grade IV acute GVHD. There were no other cases of GVHD > or = grade II. Nine patients died from transplant-related toxicity, 2 relapsed, and 6 patients are alive and event-free at a median follow-up of 230 days (range, 100 to 485 days). Our results show that a highly immunosuppressive and myeloablative conditioning followed by transplantation of a large number of stem cells depleted of T lymphocytes by soybean agglutination and E-rosetting technique has made transplantation of three HLA-antigen disparate grafts possible, with only rare cases of GVHD.
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