Ex vivo manipulation of hematopoietic stem cells for transplantation: The potential role of amifostine

M. Balzarotti, S. Grisanti, K. Granzow, A. Saladini, A. Sala, A. Nozza, A. Molteni, F. Passamonti, C. Carlo-Stella, A. Santoro, S. Siena

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


High-dose chemotherapy with autologous stem cell transplantation is an increasingly used procedure in oncohematologic diseases and represents a promising strategy in selected patients with solid tumors. In autologous stem cell transplantation, the risk of reinfusion of clonogenic tumor cells is a remarkable biologic obstacle that can be at least partly overcome by ex viva graft purging to reduce residual tumor. Mafosfamide and 4- hydroxyperoxycyclophosphamide, active metabolites of cyclophosphamide, are the most widely used pharmacologic agents for ex vivo bone marrow purging. However, in addition to killing tumor cells, they are toxic to normal bone marrow as measured by reduced colony-forming unit granulocyte-macrophage (CFU-GM). Thus, the therapeutic index of these alkylating agents is narrow, and parameters for dose selection must include toxicity to normal bone marrow progenitor cells that can delay bone marrow engraftment and increase risk of infections, bleeding complications, hospitalization, and the need for a costly transplantation procedure. Amifostine (WR-2771, Ethyol; Alza Pharmaceuticals, Palo Alto, CA/US Bioscience, West Conshohocken, PA) selectively protects human CFU-GM progenitor cells from the cytotoxicities of active metabolites of cyclophosphamide without altering its cytotoxic effect on malignant cells. This has been demonstrated both in preclinical and clinical studies in patients with breast cancer, malignant lymphomas, and acute leukemia. Amifostine use during the ex vivo procedure significantly shortened the time to bone marrow engraftment with decreased incidence of infections and need for red blood cell transfusions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-71
Number of pages6
JournalSeminars in Oncology
Issue number2 SUPPL. 7
Publication statusPublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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