Frequent detection of tumor cells in hematopoietic grafts in neuroblastoma and Ewing's sarcoma

W. Leung, A. R. Chen, R. C. Klann, T. J. Moss, J. M. Davis, S. J. Noga, K. J. Cohen, A. D. Friedman, D. Small, C. L. Schwartz, M. J. Borowitz, M. D. Wharam, C. N. Paidas, C. A. Long, S. Karandish, J. D. McMannis, M. B. Kastan, C. I. Civin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many poor-risk neuroblastomas and tumours of the Ewing's sarcoma family (ET) recur despite autologous transplants. Recurrence may be due to tumor cells contained in the BM harvests or PBSC harvests. The objectives of this prospective study were to: (1) determine the incidence and degree of tumor cell contamination in paired BM and PBSC harvests; and (2) determine the efficacy of tumor cell purging by immunomagnetic CD34+ cell selection. 198 samples from 11 consecutive patients with neuroblastoma or Ewing's sarcoma were analyzed. We assayed tumor contamination by RT-PCR assay for PGP 9.5, plus immunohistochemistry for neuroblastoma-specific antigens (the latter in neuroblastoma only). None of these patients had tumor cells detected in their BM by clinical histology immediately before BM or PBSC harvests. However, 82% of PBSC and 89% of backup BM harvests were contaminated with tumor by RT-PCR and/or immunocytochemistry assays. Unselected PBSC and BM harvests contained similar quantities of tumor cells (median, ~200,000 cells). Cyclophosphamide plus G-CSF mobilization did not affect the incidence or level of contamination in PBSC harvests, as compared to blood obtained before mobilization. Immunomagnetic CD34+ cell selection depleted tumor cells by a median of 3.0 logs for PBSC, and 2.6 logs for BM harvests.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)971-979
Number of pages9
JournalBone marrow transplantation
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1998


  • Autologous transplantation
  • Ewing's sarcoma
  • Neuroblastoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Transplantation


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