Impact of Mantle Cell Lymphoma Contamination of Autologous Stem Cell Grafts on Outcome after High-Dose Chemotherapy

Cancers (Basel). 2021 May 23;13(11):2558. doi: 10.3390/cancers13112558.


Novel predictive factors are needed to identify mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) patients at increased risk for relapse after high-dose chemotherapy and autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HDCT/Auto-HSCT). Although bone marrow and peripheral blood involvement is commonly observed in MCL and lymphoma cell contamination of autologous stem cell grafts might facilitate relapse after Auto-HSCT, prevalence and prognostic significance of residual MCL cells in autologous grafts are unknown. We therefore performed a multiparameter flow cytometry (MFC)-based measurable residual disease (MRD) assessment in autologous stem cell grafts and analyzed its association with clinical outcome in an unselected retrospective cohort of 36 MCL patients. MRD was detectable in four (11%) autologous grafts, with MRD levels ranging from 0.002% to 0.2%. Positive graft-MRD was associated with a significantly shorter progression-free and overall survival when compared to graft-MRD negative patients (median 9 vs. 56 months and 25 vs. 132 months, respectively) and predicted early relapse after Auto-HSCT (median time to relapse 9 vs. 44 months). As a predictor of outcome after HDCT/Auto-HSCT, MFC-based assessment of graft-MRD might improve risk stratification and support clinical decision making for risk-oriented treatment strategies in MCL.

Keywords: MCL; MRD; autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; autologous stem cell graft; mantle cell lymphoma; measurable residual disease.