Re-infused autologous graft natural killer cells correlates with absolute lymphocyte count recovery after autologous stem cell transplantation

Leuk Lymphoma. 2003 Jun;44(6):997-1000. doi: 10.1080/1042819031000077089.


Early absolute lymphocyte count (ALC) has been reported to be a powerful prognostic indicator of survival after autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT). One possible source affecting ALC recovery includes the re-infused autologous graft lymphocytes (AGL). To assess if the re-infused AGL correlate with ALC recovery post-ASCT, we conducted a pilot study to identify which of the re-infused AGL subsets is most associated with day 15 ALC recovery in three patients with multiple myeloma and four patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Using the Spearman rank correlation coefficient analysis (r), we compared absolute numbers of CD3, CD4, CD8, CD19, and CD16+/CD56+ cells/kg of body weight from the apheresis product with ALC (cells/microl) at day 15 post-ASCT. The main lymphocyte subsets identified in the apheresis product were T cells and NK cells. There was no strong correlation between T or B cells from the apheresis product compared with the ALC at day 15 post-ASCT (CD3, r = 0.21; CD4, r = 0.32; CD8, r = 0.39; and CD19, r = 0.14). However, there was good correlation between NK cells from the apheresis product compared with ALC at day 15 post-ASCT (CD16+/CD56+/CD3-, r = 0.77). These data provide preliminary evidence that the number of re-infused autologous graft NK cells in the apheresis product significantly affect ALC recovery early post-ASCT. However, given the small sample size, our results are primarily hypothesis generating and subject of further research.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antigens, CD / blood
  • Blood Component Removal / methods
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Killer Cells, Natural / transplantation*
  • Lymphocyte Count*
  • Lymphocyte Transfusion*
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / immunology
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / therapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Myeloma / immunology
  • Multiple Myeloma / therapy*
  • Recurrence
  • Stem Cell Transplantation / methods*
  • Time Factors
  • Transplantation, Autologous / methods


  • Antigens, CD