Background: Patients with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) experience profound neutropenia; infections remain the leading cause of morbidity and mortality. Transfusion of functional non-irradiated allogeneic granulocytes may treat or prevent infections in AML patients, and may also have anti-leukemic benefits.
Study Design: Patients free of infection, with a diagnosis of AML or high-risk myelodysplastic syndrome undergoing induction or first-salvage therapy were eligible. Allogeneic Granulocyte Transfusions (GTs) were administered to neutropenic (<0.5 × 109/L) patients every 3-4 days until sustained ANC recovery, initiation of new therapy, or completion of 6 weeks on study.
Results: 45 patients enrolled with a median age of 67 years (range 23-83); 27 (60%) were male. Five patients (11%) never received a GT, due to donor screening failure and/or donor unavailability. 119 donors donated 156 granulocyte concentrates to the remaining 40 patients. The median number of GTs transfused per patient was 3 (range 1-9). All patients experienced >1 neutropenic fever, with an average of one infectious episode per patient. Other adverse reactions were urticaria/pruritis (n=1), rash (n=1), and hypotension (n=1). Response to leukemiadirected therapy included complete remission in 50%, overall response rate of 70%, and 8-week mortality of 8%. Median overall survival was 15 months, with 51% 1-year survival.
Conclusion: Administration of non-irradiated functional allogeneic GTs to neutropenic MDS/AML patients is safe and feasible. No transfusion-associated graft-versus-host-disease (TA-GVHD) was reported and no increased toxicity was described, including among the 10% receiving subsequent allogeneic stem cell transplant. The favorable patient outcomes within this diverse group of primarily elderly AML are notable.