Background: High-dose therapy followed by autologous stem-cell transplantation (autoSCT) induces complete remissions in the majority of patients with advanced B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia or small lymphocytic lymphoma (B-CLL). However, the long-term utility of this therapy for B-CLL is unknown. Patients and methods: Sixteen previously treated patients with B-CLL were transplanted using autologous blood (n = 13) or bone marrow (n = 3). The median age of the patients was 49 years (range 44-60 years), and the median number of prior chemotherapy regimens was two. Patients were eligible for transplantation if they had chemosensitive disease and no morphologic evidence of malignant cells in the graft. Preparative regimens included cyclophosphamide and total-body-irradiation, with or without cytarabine, or BEAC. Results: All patients engrafted and achieved a complete remission posttransplant. Ten patients were alive at a median of 41 months (range 22-125 months), and five were disease-free. Eight patients have relapsed and six have died (three from progressive malignancy). The projected three-year overall survival, failure-free survival and relapse rates were 68%, 37%, and 56%, respectively. Conclusions: AutoSCT for advanced B-CLL is associated with a high relapse rate. Whether this therapy can prolong life or produce cures is uncertain.
- Autologous hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation
- Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
- Relapse rate
- Small lymphocytic lymphoma
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