Transient T cell immunodeficiency is a common complication following hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. In breast cancer patients transplanted with autologous peripheral blood progenitor cells (PBPC) harvested after cytotoxic treatment with either cyclophosphamide or epirubicin plus paclitaxel, we evaluated T cells infused in grafts and in peripheral blood during the early reconstitution phase. We found that PBPC grafts harvested after treatment with epirubicin plus paclitaxel contained substantially larger numbers of T cells with less altered composition than after cyclophosphamide. Three months after high-dose cytotoxic chemotherapy, the numbers and the kinetics of circulating naive T cells, but not of memory and CD28- T cells, correlated positively with the number of naive T cells infused PBPC grafts. Finally, retrospective analysis of two cohorts of patients transplanted in different clinical settings with PBPC grafts harvested following cyclophosphamide or epirubicin plus paclitaxel showed apparently different susceptibilities to develop endogenous varicella zoster virus reactivation in the first year after high-dose cytotoxic chemotherapy. On the whole, these data indicate that number and composition of T cells in PBPC grafts vary according to the former cytotoxic therapy, and suggest that autologous transfer of T cells may accelerate the early T cell reconstitution phase and possibly ameliorate immune competence in patients rendered lymphopenic by high-dose chemotherapy.
- Autologous hematopoietic cell transplantation
- Cell therapy
- Cytotoxic chemotherapy
- T lymphocytes
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