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Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is a major cause of mortality and morbidity after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation, but can be avoided by removing T lymphocytes from the donor bone marrow. However, T-cell depletion increases the risk of graft rejection. This study examined the use of CD52 monoclonal antibodies to eliminate T cells from both donor marrow and recipient to prevent both GVHD and rejection. Seventy patients receiving HLA-identical sibling transplants for acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) in first remission were studied. An IgM (CAMPATH-1M) was used for in vitro depletion of the graft and an IgG (CAMPATH-1G) for in vivo depletion of the recipient before graft infusion. No posttransplant immunosuppression was given. Results were compared with two control groups: (1) 50 patients who received bone marrow depleted with CAMPATH-1M, but no CAMPATH-1G in vivo; and (2) 459 patients reported to the International Bone Marrow Transplant Registry (IBMTR) who received nondepleted grafts and conventional GVHD prophylaxis with cyclosporin A (CyA) and methotrexate (MTX). The incidence of acute GVHD was 4% in the treatment group compared with 35% in the CyA/MTX group (P <.001). Chronic GVHD was also exceptionally low in the treatment group (3% v 36%; P <.001). The problem of graft rejection, which had been frequent in the historic CAMPATH-1M group (31%), was largely overcome in the treatment group (6%). Thus, transplant-related mortality of the treatment group (15% at 5 years) was lower than for the CyA/MTX group (26%; P =.04). There was little difference in the risk of leukemia relapse between the treatment group (30% at 5 years) and the CyA/MTX group (29%). Survival of the treatment group at 6 months was better than the CyA/MTX group (92% v 78%), although at 5 years the difference was not significant (62% v 58%) and neither was the difference in leukemia-free survival (60% v 52%). We conclude that T-cell depletion is a useful strategy to prevent GVHD, provided that measures are taken to ensure engraftment. Using CAMPATH-1G to deplete residual host lymphocytes is a simple and practical method to do this. At least in AML, the beneficial reduction in GVHD can be achieved without an increased risk of relapse.

Type

Journal article

Journal

Blood

Publication Date

15/12/1998

Volume

92

Pages

4581 - 4590

Keywords

Alemtuzumab, Antibodies, Monoclonal, Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized, Antibodies, Neoplasm, Bone Marrow Transplantation, Cyclosporine, Disease-Free Survival, Graft Rejection, Graft vs Host Disease, Humans, Immunosuppressive Agents, Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute, Lymphocyte Depletion, Methotrexate, Multivariate Analysis, Prognosis, Time Factors, Transplantation Conditioning, Treatment Outcome