Outcome of allogeneic peripheral blood stem cell transplantation by donor graft CD3+/Tregs ratio: a single-center experience

Mario Delia, Domenico Pastore, Anna Mestice, Paola Carluccio, Tommasina Perrone, Francesco Gaudio, Alessandra Ricco, Nicola Sgherza, Francesco Albano, Giorgina Specchia
Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation 2013, 19 (3): 495-9
The therapeutic efficacy of allogeneic peripheral blood stem cell transplantation (PBSCT) for hematological malignancies relies largely on the graft-versus-leukemia (GVL) effects exerted by the donor CD3 cells, but there is a risk of onset of uncontrolled graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). Regulatory T cells (Tregs) (CD4+CD25(high) Foxp3+) are believed to maintain tolerance and to inhibit acute GVHD (aGVHD) after allogeneic PBSCT. Nevertheless, when looking at post-allotransplantation patient outcomes, although the impact of aGVHD on survival is amply documented, so far there is no evidence that the donor graft CD3/Tregs ratio may affect overall survival (OS), nonrelapse mortality (NRM), disease-free survival (DFS), and relapse rates. Our aim was to study the possible impact of the gCD3/Tregs ratio on survival after myeloablative allogeneic PBSCT. We analyzed 74 consecutive patients diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (n = 62), acute lymphoblastic leukemia (n = 10), and chronic myeloid leukemia (n = 2) who underwent transplantation with unmanipulated PBSCs from a human leukocyte antigen-identical related donor (n = 48) or a human leukocyte antigen-identical unrelated donor (n = 26). Patients were subdivided into a high gCD3/Tregs ratio (≥36) group (HR group, n = 30) and a low gCD3/Tregs ratio (<36) group (LR group, n = 44). The OS, DFS, NRM, and relapse rates at 3 years were 53%, 51%, 29%, and 34%, respectively. Comparing the LR and HR groups, a statistically significant difference was demonstrated for the 3-year OS, DFS, and NRM rates (65% vs 31%, P = .0001; 67 versus 26%, P = .0001; 5% versus 71%, P < .0001, respectively) but not for relapse (30% vs 25%, P = ns). By multivariate analysis, LR significantly predicted better OS (P = .019), DFS (P = .003), and NRM (P = .05), whereas there was no statistically significant association between LR and relapse (P = .155). Overall, our data may suggest that LR preserves GVL effects but is also protective against aGVHD in allotransplantation patients.

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