A 32-year-old female with WHO grade IV, dialysis dependent, lupus nephritis was treated with high-dose immunosuppression and autologous stem cell rescue. Stem cells were mobilized with cyclophosphamide (CY) and G-CSF, and 4.07 × 106 CD34+ cells/kg were obtained after CD34+ cell selection using the CellPro column. The preparative regimen consisted of CY, and antithymocyte globulin (ATG), with methylprednisolone. After apparent primary engraftment of neutrophils on day 9, the patient developed recurrent neutropenia on day 19. She showed no evidence of engraftment by day 35, and back-up unmanipulated stem cells were given without effect. Subsequently, she received unmanipulated peripheral stem cells (2 × 106 CD34+ cells/kg) from an HLA-identical sibling. The patient remained pancytopenic and expired on day 62 from disseminated fungal infection. An autopsy revealed no evidence of hematopoietic recovery. Progenitor cell assays were performed with the patient's stem cells, which were collected prior to transplantation, and serum collected day 27. Morphologic examination of the patient's cell colonies grown in the presence of her serum revealed abnormal shapes and non-adherent cells. There were significantly fewer BFU-e colonies and a trend toward fewer CFU-GM colonies with the patient's cells and serum compared to normal donor cells. We concluded that a substance present in her serum mediated graft failure and prevented engraftment after additional stem cell infusions.
- Autologous stem cell transplantation
- High-dose immunosuppression
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
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