Immune Monitoring After Allogeneic Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation: Toward Practical Guidelines and Standardization

Jaap Jan Boelens, Kinga K Hosszu, Stefan Nierkens

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Hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) is often a last resort, but potentially curative treatment option for children suffering from hematological malignancies and a variety of non-malignant disorders, such as bone marrow failure, inborn metabolic disease or immune deficiencies. Although efficacy and safety of the HCT procedure has increased significantly over the last decades, the majority of the patients still suffer from severe acute toxicity, viral reactivation, acute or chronic graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) and/or, in case of malignant disease, relapses. Factors influencing HCT outcomes are numerous and versatile. For example, there is variation in the selected graft sources, type of infused cell subsets, cell doses, and the protocols used for conditioning, as well as immune suppression and treatment of adverse events. Moreover, recent pharmacokinetic studies show that medications used in the conditioning regimen (e.g., busulphan, fludarabine, anti-thymocyte globulin) should be dosed patient-specific to achieve optimal exposure in every individual patient. Due to this multitude of variables and site-specific policies/preferences, harmonization between HCT centers is still difficult to achieve. Literature shows that adequate immune recovery post-HCT limits both relapse and non-relapse mortality (death due to viral reactivations and GvHD). Monitoring immune parameters post-HCT may facilitate a timely prediction of outcome. The use of standardized assays to measure immune parameters would facilitate a fast comparison between different strategies tested in different centers or between different clinical trials. We here discuss immune cell markers that may contribute to clinical decision making and may be worth to standardize in multicenter collaborations for future trials.

Original languageEnglish
Article number454
Pages (from-to)1-7
JournalFrontiers in Pediatrics
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2020


  • cellular therapies
  • harmonization
  • hematopoietic (Stem) cell transplantation (HCT)
  • immune monitoring
  • immune reconstitution


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