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Open Access Stem Cell Transplantation for Lymphoma Patients With HIV Infection

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The advent of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) has radically changed incidence characteristics and prognosis of HIV-positive patients affected by lymphomas. At this time there is consensus in the literature that, in first line, HIV-positive patients should always be treated with curative intent preferentially following the same approach used in the HIV-negative counterpart. On the contrary, an approach of salvage therapy in HIV-positive lymphomas is still a matter of debate given that for a wide range of relapsed or resistant HIV-negative Hodgkin's disease (HD) and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) patients, autologous peripheral or allogeneic stem cell transplantation are among the established options. In the pre-HAART era, therapeutic options derived from pioneering experiences gave only anecdotal success, either when transplantation was used to cure lymphomas or to improve HIV infection itself. Concerns relating to the entity, quality, and kinetics of early and late immune reconstitutions and the possible worsening of underlying viroimmunological conditions were additional obstacles. Currently, around 100 relapsed or resistant HIV-positive lymphomas have been treated with an autologous peripheral stem cell transplantation (APSCT) in the HAART era. Published data compared favorably with any previous salvage attempt showing a percentage of complete remission ranging from 48% to 90%, and overall survival ranging from 36% to 85% at median follow-up approaching 3 years. However, experiences are still limited and have given somewhat confounding indications, especially concerning timing and patients' selection for APSCT and feasibility and outcome for allogeneic stem cell transplant. Moreover, little data exist on the kinetics of immunological reconstitution after APSCT or relevant to the outcome of HIV infection. The aim of this review is to discuss current knowledge of the role of allogeneic and autologous stem cell transplantation as a modality in the cure of HIV and hemopoietic cancer patients. Several topics dealing with practical aspects concerning the management of APSCT in HIV-positive patients, including patient selection, timing of transplant, conditioning regimen, and relapse or nonrelapse mortality, are discussed. Data relating to the effects of mobilization and transplantation on virological parameters and pre- and posttransplant immune reconstitution are reviewed. Finally, in this review, we examine several ethical and legal issues relative to banking infected or potentially infected peripheral blood stem cells and we describe our experience and strategies to protect positive and negative donors/recipients and the health of caretakers.
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Keywords: Clinical aspects; HIV; Immunity; Lymphoma; Stem cell transplantation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Cell Therapy and High Dose Chemotherapy Unit, Centro di Riferimento Oncologico, CRO IRCCS, Aviano, Italy

Publication date: 2011-03-01

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.

    Cell Transplantation is now being published by SAGE. Please visit their website for the most recent issues.

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