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A total of 282 patients with leukemia have been treated by transplantation from HLA-matched siblings using marrow depleted of T cells with CAMPATH-1 and autologous complement. The incidence of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) of grades 2-4 was only 12% but the maximum incidence of graft failure was 15%. A significant increase in relapse cannot yet be detected in acute leukemia but relapse in chronic granulocytic leukemia (CGL) was substantially above that reported before T cell depletion. The most important predictive factor for relapse in CGL appeared to be slow engraftment. This finding suggests an alternative explanation for the graft-versus-leukemia effect other than a direct attack on leukemia cells. This is that donor T cells may affect the balance of competition between donor and recipient haemopoesis by preventing a rejection reaction to donor stem cells. Recipient leukemic cells would benefit (i.e. relapse) if recipient hemopoiesis gained an advantage. If this explanation were true we would expect extra immunosuppressive preconditioning of recipients to reduce the incidence of relapse, as well as preventing graft rejection.


Journal article



Publication Date





753 - 759


Acute Disease, Adolescent, Adult, Antibodies, Monoclonal, Antilymphocyte Serum, Bone Marrow Transplantation, Cause of Death, Child, Child, Preschool, Chronic Disease, Cyclosporins, Graft Enhancement, Immunologic, Graft vs Host Disease, Humans, Infant, Leukemia, Lymphocyte Depletion, Middle Aged, Prognosis, Recurrence, T-Lymphocytes