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Allogeneic sibling bone marrow transplantation (BMT) is the recommended treatment for relapsed childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), but appropriate donors are only available in 30% of cases. Unfortunately, BMT from unrelated donors (UD) has been associated with high rates of severe graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) and transplant-related mortality (TRM). In an attempt to improve outcome in UD-BMT we have assessed the impact of T-cell depletion using CAMPATH-1 (anti-CD52) monoclonal antibodies in 50 consecutively referred patients with relapsed ALL in second remission. All were previously treated according to MRC protocols UKALL X and XI, and then given chemotherapy on MRC R1 from relapse until UD-BMT, 19 patients had relapsed on and 31 off therapy. Patients and donors were fully matched at HLA-A, -B, -DR and -DQ loci in 29 cases and mismatched in 21 (four mismatched for more than one antigen). Pre-transplant conditioning comprised CAMPATH-1G, cyclophosphamide and total body irradiation. Bone marrow was T-cell depleted in vitro using CAMPATH-1 antibodies. Additional GvHD prophylaxis consisted of cyclosporin A (42 cases), cyclosporin plus methotrexate (four) or none (four). 47 patients engrafted. The incidence of acute GvHD was very low: two patients with grade II disease in the matched group, four with grade II-IV in the mismatched group. Only four patients have chronic GvHD. The actuarial event-free survival (EFS) at 2 years is 53%, with no significant difference between the matched and mismatched group. Further leukaemic relapse was the most important cause of failure. These results are similar to the most favourable published reports for HLA-matched sibling BMT in relapsed ALL.

Original publication




Journal article


British journal of haematology

Publication Date





574 - 578


Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Bristol.


Humans, Graft vs Host Disease, Acute Disease, Chronic Disease, Recurrence, Treatment Outcome, Remission Induction, Bone Marrow Transplantation, Transplantation, Autologous, Survival Analysis, Graft Survival, Adolescent, Adult, Child, Child, Preschool, Female, Male, Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma