Donor leukemia following allogeneic bone marrow transplantation

S R Mc Cann, M Lawler, N Gardiner, J O'Riordan, P Humphries, M De Arce, Mark Lawler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Although allogeneic bone marrow transplantation has been shown to be a highly effective treatment for acute and chronic leukemia, leukemic relapse remains a significant problem. Leukemic relapse occurs in recipient cells in the majority of cases, but the paucity of donor cell leukemias may reflect the sensitivity of the investigative technique. We have developed a highly sensitive technique to identify the origin of all hematopoietic cells in the post transplant state which is based on PCR amplification of microsatellites, polymorphic tandem repetitive elements. We have identified donor leukemia (AML M5) following a sex matched BMT for severe aplastic anemia, verified a previously reported case of donor leukemia following BMT for chronic granulocytic leukemia and recently identified an acquired cytogenetic abnormality(del 11q23) in donor cells four years following an apparently successful BMT for AML. In all cases the donors have remained healthy. Postulated mechanisms include transfer to the transplanted marrow of a dormant oncogene residing in the DNA of either a virus, the chromosomes of degenerating irradiation damaged host leukemic cells or in the marrow stroma which is radioresistant and host in origin following BMT. Using sensitive techniques donor leukemia has been shown to be a more common event than was previously thought and an understanding of its pathogenesis may allow us to elucidate leukemogenic mechanisms in man.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S133-5
Volume8 Suppl 1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1994


  • Adolescent
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation
  • Chromosome Aberrations
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 11
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Monocytic, Acute
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute
  • Male
  • Tissue Donors
  • Transplantation, Homologous


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