Background: Our laboratory previously reported that leukemia patients who developed > or = 10% gammadelta+ T cells during the first six months after receiving an anti-TCRalphabeta T-cell-depleted (TCD) graft from a partially mismatched related donor (PMRD) had a disease-free survival (DFS) advantage. These gammadelta+ T cells were V81+CD3+CD4-CD8-CD69+HLADR+ and are cytotoxic to K562 cells.
Methods: In order to determine whether the anti-alphabeta TCD regimen was associated with these findings, we compared the reconstitution of gammadelta+ T cells from patients who received TCD PMRD grafts using the anti-TCRc4 MAb TIOB9-1A31 (previously reported) with similar patients who received grafts using the anti-CD3 MAb OKT3.
Results: Increased cytotoxic Vdelta1+ T cells were seen in 10 of 43 T10B9 TCD patients compared to 7 of 100 in the OKT3 TCD group (23% versus 7%, p = 0.010). T10B9 patients with increased gammadelta+ T cells also exhibited a higher range of increased gammadelta+ T cells and the length of time the gammadelta+ T cells remained high was longer when compared to OKT3 patients. Patients with increased gammadelta+ T cells whose grafts were T-cell depleted with T10B9 showed a significant decrease in relapse (p = 0.038). Similar rates and reduction in relapse were seen in OKT3 TCD patients, although significance was not reached due to the small number of patients with increased gammadelta+ T cells. Estimated 3 year disease-free survival was significantly improved in T10B9 patients with increased gammadelta+ T cells (0.79 versus 0.31, p = 0.009), a trend also seen in OKT3 patients (p = 0.091).
Discussion: These observations indicate that Vdelta1+CD4-CD8-cytotoxic T cells are associated with lower relapse rates and improved survival, and thus may have a role in a graft-versus-leukemia effect.