TCT | Transplantation & Cellular Therapy Meetings
TCT | Transplantation & Cellular Therapy Meetings
March 14, 2018
2 min read

Modified Hopkins conditioning may improve donor engraftment for sickle cell disease

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SALT LAKE CITY — An altered version of the Hopkins conditioning regimen may lead to more stable donor engraftment without severe toxicity among patients with sickle cell disease who undergo haploidentical hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, according to study data presented at the BMT Tandem Meetings.

Lack of HLA-matched sibling donors has limited allogeneic HSCT among patients with sickle cell disease. Although a haploidentical donor for HSCT may increase access to transplant, long-term EFS rates are low.

“Less than 20% of sickle cell disease patients will have an HLA-matched donor and alternative stem cell sources, such as haploidentical donors, can expand the donor pool,” Santosh Saraf, MD, assistant professor of medicine at University of Illinois at Chicago, told HemOnc Today. “Current haploidentical transplantation regimens in adults with sickle cell disease have demonstrated stable long-term engraftment in only approximately 50% of cases.”

Saraf and colleagues evaluated 10 adults with sickle cell disease (median age, 27 years; range, 20-52) who underwent haploidentical HSCT. Two patients received a conditioning regimen of alemtuzumab (Campath/Lemtrada, Genzyme) and 3 Gy total body irradiation, followed by posttransplant cyclophosphamide. However, both patients failed to engraft and recovered autologous neutrophils on day 39 and day 34.

The other eight patients received a modified version of the Hopkins protocol — 30 mg/m2, fludarabine, 14.5 mg/kg cyclophosphamide, 3 Gy total body irradiation, 0.5 mg/kg antithymocyte globulin, 50 mg/kg posttransplant cyclophosphamide and infused mobilized peripheral blood stem cells. Patients underwent HSCT between September 2015 and March 2017.

At day 12 posttransplant, neutropenic patients with sickle hemoglobin less than 30% received 5 µg/kg granulocyte-colony stimulating factor. The median time to neutrophil engraftment was 22 days (range, 18-23).

All patients engrafted donor cells at first, then one developed secondary graft failure. The other seven patients maintained a stable donor cell engraftment.

Transplant-related toxicities observed in the modified Hopkins regimen group included neutropenic fever (n = 8), grade 2 or higher mucositis (n = 3), cytomegalovirus reactivation (n = 2) and small intracranial hemorrhages (n = 2).

Grade 2 or higher acute graft-versus-host disease occurred among two patients; one patient had complete resolution after steroid therapy and the other experienced transformation into chronic GVHD.

The researchers noted that no other cases of chronic GVHD had been observed at the time of the presentation.

At a median follow-up of 11 months (range, 6-24), all eight patients remained alive. Seven maintained donor cell chimerism greater than 90% and improved median hemoglobin concentration from 8.8 g/dL (range, 6.4-12.8) to 13.3 g/dL (range, 9.9-15.3).

“Our findings demonstrate the real-life experience of screening and transplanting adults with sickle cell disease using haploidentical donors and identifies donor-specific antibodies and patient concerns about the safety of the regimen as major barriers to haploidentical transplantation in sickle cell disease,” Saraf said. “It also demonstrates that modifications to the Hopkins protocol leads to stable engraftment in adult sickle cell disease patients with low morbidity.” – by Melinda Stevens



Saraf S, et al. Abstract 52. Presented at: BMT Tandem Meetings; Feb. 21-25, 2018; Salt Lake City.


Disclosures: HemOnc Today could not confirm the authors’ relevant financial disclosures at the time of reporting.