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Single-center experience suggests donor lymphocyte infusion may promote long-term survival in children with high-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Pediatr Blood Cancer 2019 11;66(11):e27950



Pubmed ID


Pubmed Central ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85070087706   2 Citations


BACKGROUND: Donor lymphocyte infusion (DLI) is often used to treat leukemic relapse after hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). However, the relationship between outcomes and distinct DLI cellular composition has not been previously reported. Additionally, there are limited published data on efficacy in pediatrics. We evaluated whether DLI cellular content and development of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) impacted disease and influenced overall survival (OS) in children receiving DLI for recurrent leukemia.

METHODS: We performed an Institutional Review Board-approved, retrospective study investigating all consecutive DLIs given to patients at the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin between 1980 and 2018. Analyses were conducted using Mann-Whitney, Fisher exact, and chi-square tests.

RESULTS: Thirty patients a??20 years old with hematologic malignancies (myeloid [AML/MDS/CML/JMML], n = 23; lymphoid [ALL], n = 7) received DLI to treat post-transplant relapse. We found no significant difference in OS or development of GVHD based on CD3, CD4, CD8, CD56, or CD19 DLI cellular composition. With a median follow-up of 0.69 (range, 0.04-16.61) years, OS at five years was 32% A? 9%.A The lymphoid group had a five-year survival rate at 71% A? 17% compared with the myeloid group at 22% A? 9%, although not statistically significant (P = 0.11).A The development of GVHD did not affect OS (P = 0.62).

CONCLUSION: Here, we report a single-center, long-term experience of pediatric DLIs. Surprisingly, many children with ALL were able to achieve durable remissions. Although cellular composition did not have a significant effect on GVHD or OS in our small study, engineering DLI products to maximize specific effector cell populations could be one strategy to improve efficacy.

Author List

Liberio N, Robinson H, Nugent M, Simpson P, Margolis DA, Malarkannan S, Keever-Taylor C, Thakar MS


Subramaniam Malarkannan PhD Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin
David A. Margolis MD Interim Chair, Professor in the Pediatrics department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Follow-Up Studies
Graft vs Leukemia Effect
Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation
Kaplan-Meier Estimate
Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute
Lymphocyte Transfusion
Myelodysplastic Syndromes
Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma
Retrospective Studies
Salvage Therapy
Survival Rate
Young Adult