The Two-Step Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation Approach Results in Rapid Engraftment and Excellent Outcomes in Patients with Lymphoid Malignancies

Transplant Cell Ther. 2022 Mar;28(3):159.e1-159.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.jtct.2021.12.013. Epub 2021 Dec 24.


The 2-step graft engineering approach has been the main platform for allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT) at Thomas Jefferson University since 2005. We have previously described separating donor lymphocyte infusion followed by cyclophosphamide for bidirectional tolerization from CD34-selected hematopoietic grafts in haploidentical and matched related donors. Here we analyzed 60 patients with high-risk lymphoid malignancies who underwent a 2-step allo-HCT between 2008 and 2020. The majority of patients received haploidentical stem cell grafts (82%), and 20% of patients received matched related donor stem cell grafts. The patients underwent allo-HCT for diffuse large C cell lymphoma (n = 17; 28%), chronic lymphoblastic leukemia (n = 10; 17%), follicular lymphoma (n = 8; 13%), and Hodgkin lymphoma (n = 7; 12%). Eight patients (13%) had received prior high-dose chemotherapy. Thirty patients (50%) had a Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation Comorbidity Index ≥3, and 20 patients (33%) had a Center for International Blood & Marrow Transplant Research Revised Disease Risk Index of high risk or very high risk. The median patient age was 56 years (range, 24 to 75 years). Neutrophils engrafted at a median of 11 days (range, 9 to 16 days), and platelets engrafted at a median of 16 days (range, 13 to 37 days). With a median follow-up of 6 years, the 3-year probability of overall survival was 62.9% (95% confidence interval [CI], 49.3% to 73.8%), and that of disease-free survival was 60.2% (95% CI, 46.4% to 71.6%). The cumulative incidence of relapse at 3 years was 11.9% (95% CI, 5.2% to 21.6%). The cumulative incidence of nonrelapse mortality at 3 years was 30.1% (95% CI, 1.91% to 42.0%). The cumulative incidence of grade II-IV acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) at 1 year was 45% (95% CI, 32.2% to 57.0%), and that of grade III-IV acute GVHD at 1 year was 5% (95% CI, 1.3% to 12.6%). The cumulative incidence of cGVHD at 3 years was 15.2% (95% CI, 7.5% to 25.4%). The 2-step approach achieved excellent outcomes in high-risk lymphoid malignancies, with rapid neutrophil and platelet recovery.

Keywords: Allo HCT for lymphoma; DLBCL; Haploidentical; Lymphoid malignancies; Lymphoma; The 2-step; Two-step approach.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cyclophosphamide / therapeutic use
  • Graft vs Host Disease* / epidemiology
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell* / complications
  • Middle Aged
  • Stem Cell Transplantation / adverse effects
  • Young Adult


  • Cyclophosphamide