Purging of tumor cells from leukapheresis products: experimental and clinical aspects

J Hematother. 1996 Aug;5(4):427-36. doi: 10.1089/scd.1.1996.5.427.


Peripheral blood progenitor cell autografts are being used increasingly in conjunction with high-dose therapy of cancer patients, in the belief that these products have a low probability of containing tumor cells. However, recent findings demonstrate that tumor cell involvement is frequent in leukapheresis products. Although the clinical value of purging has not been clinically established by prospective randomized trials, several studies indicate that contaminating tumor cells in autografts contribute to relapse of the disease in the recipients. We describe our experimental and clinical experience in purging tumor cells from leukapheresis products. Based on our work with purging of lymphoma cells from bone marrow by the use of anti-B cell and anti-T cell antibodies and immunobeads, a purging procedure to deplete leukapheresis products of lymphoma cells has been developed. Moreover, we present data showing that breast cancer cells can be efficiently removed from leukapheresis products using antibreast cancer antibodies, either in combination with immunobeads or as immunotoxins. Our experience with enrichment of CD34 cells employing immunobeads in leukaphresis products from patients with breast cancer and lymphomas shows high purity and yield of CD34 cells. In spite of this, contaminating tumor cells can be observed, strongly suggesting that a combination of CD34 cell enrichment and a purging procedure might be warranted.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • Antigens, Differentiation / analysis
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / analysis
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Blood Preservation
  • Bone Marrow Purging / methods*
  • Breast Neoplasms / blood
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / adverse effects
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / methods
  • Humans
  • Immunomagnetic Separation
  • Leukapheresis / methods*
  • Lymphocyte Subsets
  • Lymphoma / blood
  • Lymphoma / drug therapy
  • Lymphoma / pathology
  • Lymphoma / therapy
  • Male
  • Microspheres
  • Neoplasms / blood
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Neoplastic Cells, Circulating*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Transplantation, Autologous


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, Differentiation
  • Antigens, Neoplasm