Plerixafor, a CXCR4 inhibitor, has the potential to mobilize leukemic cells, which may contribute to their chemosensitization. This phase 1 study evaluated the safety of myeloablative conditioning combined with plerixafor for allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Patients with high-risk leukemia undergoing allogeneic HSCT after total body irradiation (TBI, 12 Gy)-based myeloablative conditioning were eligible; 9 patients were enrolled. The study was performed using a 3 + 3 design with an escalating total dose of plerixafor. Plerixafor was given subcutaneously 8 h before TBI and chemotherapeutic agents. Plerixafor was successfully escalated to the maximum dose (0.72 mg/kg) without dose-limiting toxicities. Underlying diseases were acute myelogenous and lymphoblastic leukemia, chronic myeloid leukemia, and myelodysplastic syndrome. As adverse events, plerixafor administration was associated with transient Grades 2–3 diarrhea (n = 7) and abdominal pain (n = 4). In 6 patients, leukemic cell mobilization into the peripheral blood by plerixafor was confirmed by a morphological or molecular method. All patients achieved neutrophil engraftment and 5 were alive in remission at a follow-up after 30–40 months. Plerixafor-combined myeloablative conditioning for allogeneic HSCT was well tolerated. Leukemic-cell mobilization into peripheral blood was observed in half of the patients. Further study is required to evaluate the efficacy and safety of this concept.
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