Lymphocyte recovery is an independent predictor of relapse in allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation recipients for acute leukemia

World J Transplant. 2017 Aug 24;7(4):235-242. doi: 10.5500/wjt.v7.i4.235.


Aim: To examine the optimal absolute lymphocyte count (ALC) cut-off utilizing receiver operator characteristics (ROC) in addition to graft characteristics associated with early ALC recovery.

Methods: Patients who received T-cell replete peripheral hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) for acute leukemia were identified. ALC cut-off was established using ROC analysis and subsequently the cohort was stratified. Time to endpoint analysis and cox regression modelling was computed to analyze outcomes.

Results: A total of 72 patients met the inclusion criteria and were analyzed. Optimal ALC cut-off was established to be on day 14 (D14) with ALC > 0.3 × 109/L. At 2 years, cumulative incidence of relapse was 16.9% vs 46.9% (P = 0.025) for early and delayed lymphocyte recovery cohorts, respectively. Chronic graft vs host disease was more prevalent in the early lymphocyte recovery (ELR) group at 70% vs 27%, respectively (P = 0.0006). On multivariable analysis for relapse, ELR retained its prognostic significance with HR = 0.27 (0.05-0.94, P = 0.038).

Conclusion: ELR is an independent predictor for relapse in patients receiving allogeneic HCT for acute leukemia. ELR was influenced by graft characteristics particularly CD34 count.

Keywords: Absolute lymphocyte count; Acute leukemia; Allogeneic transplant.