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Spontaneous Autologous Graft-versus-Host Disease in Plasma Cell Myeloma Autograft Recipients: Flow Cytometric Analysis of Hematopoietic Progenitor Cell Grafts

Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, USA.
Biology of blood and marrow transplantation: journal of the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (Impact Factor: 3.35). 03/2011; 17(7):970-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.bbmt.2011.03.005
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Nine plasma cell myeloma patients spontaneously developed histologically proven autologous graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) limited predominantly to the gastrointestinal tract within 1 month of initial autologous hematopoietic cell transplantation (AHCT) using high-dose melphalan conditioning. All recipients responded promptly to systemic and nonabsorbable oral corticosteroid therapy. All patients previously received systemic therapy with thalidomide, lenalidomide, or bortezomib before AHCT. Using enzymatic amplification staining-enhanced flow cytometry, we evaluated expression of selected transcription regulators, pathway molecules, and surface receptors on samples of the infused hematopoietic cell grafts. We demonstrated significantly enhanced expression of GATA-2, CD130, and CXCR4 on CD34(+) hematopoietic progenitor cells of affected patients compared with 42 unaffected AHCT controls. These 3 overexpressed markers have not been previously implicated in autologous GVHD. Although we did not specifically evaluate T cells, we postulate that exposure over time to the various immunomodulating therapies used for induction treatment affected not only the CD34(+) cells but also T cells or relevant T cell subpopulations capable of mediating GVHD. After infusion, the affected hematopoietic progenitor cells then encounter a host that has been further altered by the high-dose melphalan preparative regimen; such a situation leads to the syndrome. These surface markers could be used to develop a model to predict development of this syndrome. Autologous GVHD potentially is a serious complication of AHCT and should be considered in plasma cell myeloma patients with otherwise unexplained gastrointestinal symptoms in the immediate post-AHCT period. Prompt recognition of this condition and protracted treatment with nonabsorbable or systemic corticosteroids or the combination may lead to resolution.

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