Donor T-cell responses and disease progression patterns of multiple myeloma
Donor T-cells transferred after allogeneic stem cell transplantation (alloSCT) can result in long-term disease control in myeloma by the graft-versus-myeloma (GvM) effect. However, T-cell therapy may show differential effectiveness against bone marrow (BM) infiltration and focal myeloma lesions resulting in different control and progression patterns. Outcomes of 43 myeloma patients who underwent T-cell-depleted alloSCT with scheduled donor lymphocyte infusion (DLI) were analyzed with respect to diffuse BM infiltration and focal progression. For comparison, 12 patients for whom a donor search was started but no alloSCT was performed, were analyzed. After DLI, complete disappearance of myeloma cells in BM occurred in 86% of evaluable patients. The probabilities of BM progression-free survival (PFS) at 2 years after start of donor search, alloSCT and DLI, were 17% (95% confidence interval 0-38%), 51% (36-66%), and 62% (44-80%) respectively. In contrast, the probabilities of focal PFS at 2 years after start of donor search, alloSCT and DLI, were 17% (0-38%), 30% (17-44%) and 28% (11-44%), respectively. Donor-derived T-cell responses effectively reduce BM infiltration, but not focal progression in myeloma, illustrating potent immunological responses in BM with only limited effect of T-cells on focal lesions.