Low-dose donor CD8+ cells in the CD4-depleted graft prevent allogeneic marrow graft rejection and severe graft-versus-host disease for chronic myeloid leukemia patients in first chronic phase.Bone Marrow Transplant. 1997 Dec; 20(11):945-52.BM
Based on previous experiences in animals and humans, low doses of CD8+ lymphocytes infused together with the marrow graft seem to enhance engraftment after allogeneic T cell-depleted marrow transplantation. From April 1994 to February 1997, 12 patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia in first chronic phase receiving a bone marrow transplant (BMT) from an HLA-identical sibling were included in a pilot study of T cell subset depletion. Total depletion of CD4+ cells of the marrow graft and partial depletion of CD8+ cells was performed by immunomagnetic separation. In order to improve the engraftment rate, we infused a low fixed number of CD8+ lymphocytes (0.25 x 10(6)/kg). All the patients were at high risk of developing acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), with a recipient age of >30 years, and/or donor sensitized by previous pregnancies or transfusions. All of them received cyclosporin A and methotrexate post-BMT. No graft failure was observed. The grade III-IV GVHD rate was 16.6%, and the actuarial survival at 3 years is 81.8%. Immunological recovery showed persistent CD8+ HLA-DR+ lymphocytosis 8 months after transplant. Relapses were not observed. This experience shows the importance of CD8+ cells to ensure correct engraftment, decreasing the GVHD rate.