Autologous bone marrow transplantation (BMT) has not been curative in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), because of the inability to purge CML from the autograft and the absence of the allogeneic T cell-mediated antileukemic activity. However, recent advances demonstrate that normal progenitors can be selected from CML marrows by a variety of techniques, including isolation by their small size. Furthermore, we found that myeloid growth factors have a potent antileukemic effect against CML progenitors in vitro by inducing their terminal differentiation. Based on these data, we initiated a trial of autologous BMT in patients with high-risk CML. Autografts were processed in an attempt to enrich for normal progenitors, first by isolating small cells by counterflow centrifugal elutriation and then incubating them in granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) for 72 hours. After a conditioning regimen of busulfan and cyclophosphamide, all patients received GM-CSF daily for 2 months. The median age of the 13 patients in the trial was 45 years (range 17-56 years). The median duration of disease before BMT was 24 months (range 13-72 months). Eight patients were in chronic phase (CP), and five were in accelerated phase (AP). All patients failed to achieve a cytogenetic response to interferon-α and were 100% Philadelphia chromosome (Ph)+ before BMT. There were three transplant-related deaths, all AP patients. All of the remaining 10 patients engrafted with some degree of Ph- hematopoiesis; despite high-risk features, nine patients engrafted 100% Ph-. All patients relapsed cytogenetically at a median of 6 months (range 4-22 months). These results demonstrate that autologous BMT can consistently induce complete Ph- engraftment in CP patients. GM-CSF appears to produce a clinical antileukemic effect against CML after autologous BMT.
- Autologous bone marrow transplantation
- Chronic myeloid leukemia
- Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor
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