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The role of donor lymphocyte infusion (DLI) in the management of lymphoid malignancies after allogeneic stem cell transplantation (SCT) has not been clearly characterized. There is emerging evidence pointing to the effectiveness of this approach, particularly in patients with low-grade disease, although to date this has been reported only in small numbers of patients, and thus the utility of this treatment remains uncertain. A total of 28 patients with low-grade lymphoid malignancies previously treated with allogeneic SCT received a total of 68 infusions of donor lymphocytes. The diagnoses were indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL; n = 23) and transformed NHL (n = 5), and the indications for DLI were progressive disease with or without mixed chimerism (MC) (n = 17) and persistent MC alone (n = 11). Escalating doses of cells were administered in the absence of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) or continued disease progression, until stable full donor chimerism or disease response were achieved. The cumulative response rates after DLI to treat progressive disease and persistent MC were 76.5% and 91.6%, respectively. The major toxicity resulting from the use of donor lymphocytes was GVHD. The cumulative incidence of acute grade II-IV disease was 15%, and that of extensive chronic disease was 31%; there were no deaths resulting from GVHD. Seven patients had graft-versus-lymphoma responses without significant GVHD. These data support the existence of a clinically significant graft-versus-tumor effect in indolent NHL and suggest that this is an effective treatment for progressive disease after allogeneic SCT.

Original publication




Journal article


Biol Blood Marrow Transplant

Publication Date





50 - 58


Adult, Disease-Free Survival, Female, Graft vs Host Disease, Graft vs Tumor Effect, Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation, Humans, Lymphocyte Transfusion, Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin, Male, Middle Aged, Neoplasm Recurrence, Local, Retrospective Studies, Salvage Therapy, Transplantation Chimera, Transplantation, Homologous