Monitoring of lineage-specific chimaerism allows early prediction of response following donor lymphocyte infusions for relapsed chronic myeloid leukaemia

N Gardiner, M Lawler, J M O'Riordan, C Duggan, M De Arce, S R McCann, Mark Lawler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Donor lymphocyte infusions (DLI) have been shown to enhance the graft-versus-leukaemia (GVL) effect and induce haematological and molecular remission in patients with relapsed CML following allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT). The potent donor cell-mediated cytolysis following DLI may lead to a short period of aplasia before the re-establishment of donor haematopoiesis. The absence of detectable donor cells in patients prior to DLI infusion may result in permanent aplasia in certain patients. We report on four patients who relapsed 1, 3, 6.5 and 7 years post-BMT for chronic phase CML and were treated with DLI from their original BMT donor. Polymorphic short tandem repeats (STRs) were used to assess haematological chimaerism both prior to and following DLI. At the time of relapse, STR-PCR indicated the presence of donor cells in all four patients, at levels ranging from 1-40%. A clinical and molecular response was seen in 4/4 patients following a short period of cytopenia and all patients remain in clinical remission with a follow-up of 2 months-3 years post-DLI. STR-PCR indicated that a response was occurring during the period of pancytopenia when metaphase analysis was unsuccessful. Lineage-specific analysis of the cellular response to DLI was monitored using STR-PCR of peripheral blood (PB) and bone marrow (BM) lymphocyte-enriched fractions and CD2-positive and -negative T cell fractions. In one patient BM and PB CD34-positive and -negative fractions were also assessed. A change in the ratio of donor:recipient cells in the PB lymphocyte fraction was the earliest molecular indication of an anti-leukaemic response. Subsequent conversion to donor chimaerism occurred in the other lineages and the granulocyte fraction was the last lineage to convert. In conclusion, lineage-specific STR-PCR permits detailed monitoring of subtle changes in donor/recipient cell dynamics in specific lineages following DLI during the crucial pancytopenic phase and may be a useful predictor of haematological response to DLI therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)711-9
Number of pages9
JournalBone Marrow Transplantation
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1998


  • Adult
  • Cell Lineage
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive
  • Lymphocyte Transfusion
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Recurrence
  • Transplantation Chimera
  • Transplantation, Homologous


Dive into the research topics of 'Monitoring of lineage-specific chimaerism allows early prediction of response following donor lymphocyte infusions for relapsed chronic myeloid leukaemia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this