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Allogeneic Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation for Aggressive NK Cell Leukemia. A Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research Analysis


Aggressive NK cell leukemia (ANKL) is an exceedingly rare form of leukemia and carries a poor prognosis, with a median survival of only 2 months. Using the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research database, we evaluated outcomes of allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (alloHCT) in patients with ANKL. Twenty-one patients with a centrally confirmed diagnosis of ANKL were included. Median patient age was 42 years and 15 patients (71%) were Caucasian. Fourteen patients (67%) were in complete remission (CR) at the time of alloHCT, and 5 patients had active disease. Median follow-up of survivors was 25 months (range, 12 to 116). The 2-year estimates of nonrelapse mortality, relapse/progression, progression-free (PFS), and overall survival (OS) were 21%, 59%, 20%, and 24%, respectively. The 2-year PFS of patients in CR at the time of alloHCT was significantly better than that of patients with active disease at transplantation (30% versus 0%; P = .001). The 2-year OS in similar order was 38% versus 0% (P < .001). In conclusion, this registry analysis that included majority non-Asian patient population shows that alloHCT can provide durable disease control in a subset of ANKL patients. Achieving CR before transplantation appears to be a prerequisite for successful transplantation outcomes.

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