The characteristics of relapse following reduced-intensity stem-cell transplantation (RIST) remain to be clarified. We reviewed the medical records of 19 patients with acute leukaemia [acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), 16; acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), 3] who relapsed after RIST from related donors using purine-analogue-based regimens. Their median age was 55 years (range, 29-65 years). Median interval between RIST and relapse was 4.9 months (range, 1.8-24.9 months). Three chose not to receive interventions. The remaining 16 patients received withdrawal of immunosuppression (n = 3), chemotherapy (n = 2), donor lymphocyte infusion (n = 10) and second transplantation (n = 7), alone (n = 9) or in combination (n = 7). Four are alive with a median follow-up of 27.6 months (range, 16.0-28.9 months); three in remission and one in relapse. The 2-year overall survival after relapse was 28.9%. Causes of death in 15 patients included progressive disease (n = 7), graft-versus-host disease (n = 5) and infections (n = 3). Cumulative incidences of relapse-related and non-relapse-related deaths at 2 years after relapse were 37% and 32% respectively. Two prognostic factors were identified on univariate analysis: age [P = 0.017; hazard ratio (HR), 1.16; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.03-1.32], and ALL as underlying disease (P = 0.011; HR, 10.4; 95% CI, 1.73-62.4). Some AML patients who relapse after RIST achieve durable remission with allogeneic immunotherapy-based interventions; however they carry a significant risk of non-relapse mortality.
- Donor lymphocyte infusion
- Graft-versus-host disease
- Graft-versus-leukaemia effect
- Non-myeloablative haematopoietic stem cell transplantation
- Second allogeneic transplantation
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