Allogeneic transplantation of hematopoietic cells from an HLA-compatible donor has been used to treat hematologic malignancies. Allogeneic transplantation not only replaces the marrow affected by the disease, but exerts an immune graft-versus-tumor (GVT) effect mediated by donor lymphocytes. The development of nonmyeloablative conditioning regimens before allogeneic transplantation has allowed this therapy to be used in elderly and disabled patients. An allogeneic GVT effect is observed in a proportion of patients with renal, breast, colorectal, ovarian, and pancreatic cancer treated with allogeneic transplantation. In general, the tumor response is associated with the development of acute and chronic graft-versus-host disease. Further improvements will depend on the identification of the antigen targets of GVT, and on reduction of the toxicity of the procedure. Targeted therapies may complement the immune effect of allogeneic transplantation. We present updated results from the literature and data recently placed on file at the European Bone Marrow Transplantation Solid Tumors Working Party.
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