Less Is More: Superior Graft-versus-Host Disease-Free/Relapse-Free Survival with Reduced-Intensity Conditioning and Dual T Cell Depletion in Acute Myelogenous Leukemia

Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2020 Aug;26(8):1511-1519. doi: 10.1016/j.bbmt.2020.04.021. Epub 2020 May 16.


In this study, we compared the outcomes of patients with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) in complete remission treated with myeloablative conditioning (MAC) and those treated with reduced-intensity conditioning (RIC) before allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HCT). In addition, we explored the efficacy of dual T cell depletion using anti-thymocyte globulin (ATG) and post-transplantation cyclophosphamide (PTCy) for the prevention of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) in patients undergoing RIC allo-HCT. Our study cohort comprised 356 adults with AML in complete remission who underwent allo-HCT between 2013 and 2018. One hundred eleven patients (31.2%) received a MAC regimen, and 245 (68.8%) received an RIC regimen. One hundred seventy-one of the patients who received an RIC regimen (68.4%) received ATG, PTCy, and cyclosporine (ATG-PTCY-CsA) for GVHD prophylaxis in accordance with our institutional protocol. Data were collected retrospectively and updated in July 2019. With a median follow-up of 14.5 months (range, 0 to 76 months), 161 patients (45.2%) died, and 66 (18.5%) relapsed. Two-year overall survival (OS), relapse-free survival (RFS), and GVHD-free/RFS (GRFS) were 55%, 52.6%, and 35%, respectively. The intensity of the conditioning regimen, with or without ATG-PTCY-CsA, did not have a significant impact on OS and RFS. However, RIC in combination with ATG-PTCY-CsA was associated with a significantly lower cumulative incidence of acute GVHD and chronic GVHD. The use of RIC with ATG-PTCy-CsA was a significant predictor for higher GRFS secondary to the reduction of clinically relevant GVHD (P= .0001). In patients with AML, RIC allografts and dual T cell modulation with ATG and PTCy led to superior GRFS. The use of this GVHD prophylaxis strategy, along with mitigation of conditioning toxicity using RIC, may result in better long-term quality of life for allo-HCT recipients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Graft vs Host Disease* / prevention & control
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute* / therapy
  • Quality of Life
  • Retrospective Studies
  • T-Lymphocytes
  • Transplantation Conditioning