We assessed mammaglobin (MMG) gene expression in bone marrow (BM) aspirates from patients with advanced breast cancer who had received a reduced-intensity conditioning and stem cell allografting, in order to detect a graft-versus-tumor effect on micrometastatic disease. Nine patients received a reduced-intensity conditioning with fludarabine, cyclophosphamide, and thiotepa, followed by peripheral blood allografting from HLA-identical sibling donors. Nested RT-PCR analysis with sequence-specific primers for MMG was carried out on a monthly basis on BM samples. Three patients had MMG-positive BM, four patients had MMG-negative BM before allografting, and two were undetermined. In two patients, a clinical response after allografting (partial remission) occurred concurrently with the clearance of MMG expression, at a median of 6 months after allografting, following immune manipulation. In two patients, a prolonged stable disease and negative MMG expression occurred after day +360 from allografting. In two patients, progression of the disease was associated with MMG RT-PCR changing from negative to positive. In one case, a disease response occurring after donor lymphocyte infusion and grade II acute GVHD was heralded by negativization of MMG expression. Although preliminary, these data suggest that a graft-versus-breast cancer effect is detectable on micrometastatic BM disease.
- Allogeneic bone marrow transplantation
- Breast cancer
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