Successful in vivo purging of CD34-containing peripheral blood harvests in mantle cell and indolent lymphoma: evidence for a role of both chemotherapy and rituximab infusion

Blood. 2000 Aug 1;96(3):864-9.


Elimination of tumor cells ("purging") from hematopoietic stem cell products is a major goal of bone marrow-supported high-dose cancer chemotherapy. We developed an in vivo purging method capable of providing tumor-free stem cell products from most patients with mantle cell or follicular lymphoma and bone marrow involvement. In a prospective study, 15 patients with CD20(+) mantle cell or follicular lymphoma, bone marrow involvement, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-detectable molecular rearrangement received 2 cycles of intensive chemotherapy, each of which was followed by infusion of a growth factor and 2 doses of the anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody rituximab. The role of rituximab was established by comparison with 10 control patients prospectively treated with an identical chemotherapy regimen but no rituximab. The CD34(+) cells harvested from the patients who received both chemotherapy and rituximab were PCR-negative in 93% of cases (versus 40% of controls; P =.007). Aside from providing PCR-negative harvests, the chemoimmunotherapy treatment produced complete clinical and molecular remission in all 14 evaluable patients, including all 6 with mantle cell lymphoma (versus 70% of controls). In vivo purging of hematopoietic progenitor cells can be successfully accomplished in most patients with CD20(+) lymphoma, including mantle cell lymphoma. The results depended on the activity of both chemotherapy and rituximab infusion and provide the proof of principle that in vivo purging is feasible and possibly superior to currently available ex vivo techniques. The high short-term complete-response rate observed suggests the presence of a more-than-additive antilymphoma effect of the chemoimmunotherapy combination used.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / administration & dosage*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived
  • Antigens, CD34
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Mobilization*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Lymphoma, Follicular / pathology*
  • Lymphoma, Follicular / therapy*
  • Lymphoma, Mantle-Cell / pathology*
  • Lymphoma, Mantle-Cell / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rituximab
  • Transplantation, Autologous


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived
  • Antigens, CD34
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Rituximab