Alemtuzumab (Campath-1H) for treatment of lymphoid malignancies in the age of nonmyeloablative conditioning?
Hale G., Slavin S., Goldman JM., Mackinnon S., Giralt S., Waldmann H.
The anti-CD52 (Campath-1) monoclonal antibodies (Mabs) have a substantial history of use for controlling graft-versus-host disease in allogeneic bone marrow transplantation. Now, with the availability of a humanised form, alemtuzumab (Campath-1H), and the demonstration that this agent can reduce the tumour burden in B-CLL, a new niche may be found - as a potentially curative agent in which its tumour purging ability in vivo combines with its role as a conditioning agent in nonmyeloablative transplantation. Review of the literature shows that alemtuzumab has unique advantages as a method of depleting malignant lymphocytes, including those in patients resistant to conventional chemotherapy. Alemtuzumab can also be used in BMT for depletion of normal T and B lymphocytes of both the recipient and donor for prevention of graft rejection and GVHD. It allows good stem cell recovery with resultant rapid engraftment, has a low risk of EBV-triggered secondary malignancy and does not interfere with blood stem cell mobilisation. As a method of eliminating the malignant clone in B-CLL, alemtuzumab has shown remarkable efficacy in heavily pre-treated patients, a number of whom have progressed to autologous or allogeneic transplantation. Efficacy data are shown within the context of other transplantation data for B-CLL. These results indicate that the combination of tumour-depleting and immunosuppressive properties of alemtuzumab should be explored, with the hope of providing improved treatment options for elderly patients with advanced B-CLL or indolent lymphoma whose prognosis is too poor currently to allow treatment with traditional regimens of high-dose myeloablative chemotherapy.