The rate and kinetics of molecular response to donor leucocyte transfusions in chronic myeloid leukaemia patients treated for relapse after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation

Br J Haematol. 1997 Dec;99(4):945-50. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2141.1997.4683272.x.


We have assessed the molecular response of 30 consecutive patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) treated for relapse after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT) by donor leucocyte transfusions (DLT). Response was evaluated by qualitative nested and quantitative competitive RT-PCR for BCR-ABL mRNA at various time intervals before and after DLT. The probability of attaining molecular remission at 2 years was 61% (95% CI 42-78%). Disease state at the time of DLT was significantly associated with response: molecular remission was achieved for 9/10 (90%) patients treated early (cytogenetic or molecular relapse) compared to only 8/20 (40%) patients treated late (haematological relapse; P = 0.009). The Kaplan-Meier estimates of molecular remission at 2 years post DLT for patients treated in early or late relapse were 86.6% and 47.3% respectively (P = 0.004). The median time interval from DLT to molecular remission was 11.0 months (range 2.5-32). Molecular remissions were durable for most (15/17) patients (median follow-up 21.2 months; range 0-55). Two patterns of molecular response were found: a very rapid decline after an initial lag phase or a more gradual decline over a period of several months. We conclude that molecular monitoring is a sensitive indicator of response to DLT; different kinetics of molecular response may reflect disease heterogeneity or differences in the mode of action of DLT.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bone Marrow Transplantation*
  • Fusion Proteins, bcr-abl / analysis
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive / therapy*
  • Leukocyte Transfusion*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Recurrence
  • Remission Induction
  • Transplantation, Homologous
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Fusion Proteins, bcr-abl