Children with relapsed or refractory solid tumors face dismal prognoses, and novel therapies are desperately needed. Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) offers potential for cell-based therapy, but the toxicity of myeloablation limits this approach in heavily pretreated patients. We sought to determine the feasibility of HCT in a cohort of 24 children with incurable solid tumors using human leukocyte antigen-matched sibling or unrelated donors and a minimal conditioning regimen. Before stem cell infusion, all patients received 3 daily doses of 30 mg/m2 fludarabine followed by 2 Gy of total body irradiation. Hematopoietic cell recovery was rapid and reliable. Median time to neutrophil engraftment was 13.5 days for sibling donors and 12 days for unrelated donors. Donor lymphocyte infusions were used safely in 4 patients, all of whom had either improved chimerism or apparent tumor response. Graft-versus-host disease was comparable across donor sources and did not affect survival. Relapse remains a substantial barrier, although objective graft-versus-tumor effect was observed in several patients. Four patients with detectable disease before HCT achieved a complete response for at least 30 days after HCT, and two remain long-term survivors. Three patients were in complete response before HCT and remained in remission for 3, 6, and 74 months after HCT. Early disease response was associated with improved survival. Allogeneic HCT using this conditioning regimen offers a potential platform for novel immunotherapies.
- Allogeneic stem cell transplantation
- Pediatric soild tumor
- Reduced-intensity transplantation
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