Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (alloHCT) is a potentially curative treatment approach for patients with high-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Despite development of several novel therapies targeting B-cell ALL, alloHCT continues to play an essential role in management, but the identification of patients who are most likely to benefit from alloHCT in first or subsequent remissions continues to evolve. Broader donor options, including haploidentical donors and umbilical cord blood, have enabled alloHCT for more patients, but improvements in front-line therapy and increasing use of high-sensitivity measurable residual disease (MRD) quantification continue to modify the calculus for selecting which patients require transplantation. MRD quantification has become increasingly important as a prognostic indicator, as well as a trigger for therapeutic intervention, since the achievement of MRD negative complete remission is well-established to be associated with improved transplant outcomes. ALL remains the only malignancy with approved therapy for MRD positivity after achievement of remission, and use of Blinatumomab in this setting currently appears to be most effective when used as a bridge-to-transplant, rather than a destination or purely consolidative therapy. Expanding options for those with relapsed/refractory disease, including chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cells, also render more patient in suitably deep remissions to enable alloHCT with a high likelihood of success. It remains unclear whether CAR-T cell therapies may obviate the need for alloHCT in some patients, and currently available data suggest there remains a role for alloHCT after CAR-T. Together, these therapeutic advances appear to be improving post-transplant outcomes. Nevertheless, more remains to be studied regarding how to optimize use of available and emerging cellular and immune modulating therapies to maximize the likelihood of long-term post-alloHCT remission in high-risk ALL.
Keywords: ALL; Allogeneic hematopoietic cell; Blinatumomab; Chimeric antigen receptor T cells; Measurable residual disease; Preemptive therapy.
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