Blood Journal
Leading the way in experimental and clinical research in hematology

Bone marrow transplants may cure patients with acute leukemia never achieving remission with chemotherapy

  1. JC Biggs,
  2. MM Horowitz,
  3. RP Gale,
  4. RC Ash,
  5. K Atkinson,
  6. W Helbig,
  7. N Jacobsen,
  8. GL Phillips,
  9. AA Rimm, and
  10. O Ringden
  1. Department of Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee 53226.


About 30% of adults with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and 20% to 40% of children and adults with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) never achieve remission, even with intensive chemotherapy. Most die of resistant leukemia, often within 6 months or less. In this study of 126 patients with resistant ALL or AML, allogeneic bone marrow transplants from HLA-identical siblings produced remissions in 113 of 115 (98%) evaluable patients. The 3-year probability of leukemia-free survival was 21% (95% confidence interval, 15% to 29%). Leukemia-free survival was similar in ALL (23%, 12% to 40%) and AML (21%, 14% to 31%). Only 3 of 27 patients at risk relapsed more than 2 years posttransplant.