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Thursday 01 April 2004

Induction of apoptosis and effect on CD20+ using rituximab on autologous peripheral blood stem cell harvests from patients with B cell lymphomas.

By: Borbolla-Escoboza JR, Leon MI, Collados MT, Baez E, Baltasar S, Hernandez R, Rojas JC.

Stem Cells Dev 2004 Apr;13(2):193-6

Purging of neoplastic cells for autologous stem cell transplantation is usually done in vivo by administering chemotherapy and/or other agents before harvesting. It is also possible to decrease malignant cells counts directly in the cell harvest. In this study, we ascertained the effect of anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody and rituximab administration on peripheral blood hematopoietic stem cells. Five samples of stem cell harvests from different patients with B cell lymphoma were obtained. Each sample was divided in two tubes with calcium gluconate (20 mEq/50 microl). Rituximab (1 mg/600,000 mononuclear cells) was added to one of the tubes. Using flow cytometry, CD19, CD20 (B cell markers), and CD95 (apoptosis marker), expression was measured at baseline and 24 h after the addition of rituximab. A one-sided t-test with equal variances was used to analyze the results. Immediately after rituximab addition, CD20 expression became null. No significant difference in variation of CD19 expression was detected after the addition of rituximab (-3.64% control vs. 0.63% rituximab, p = 0.69). Mean variations of percentage of CD95 expression were 2.9% (controls) and 10.52% (rituximab tubes) (p = 0.06). We conclude that rituximab is capable of initiating apoptosis in vitro. We found no decrease in the CD19+ cell count, used as a surrogate marker for CD20+ cells, meaning that, at least in 24 h, apoptosis activation is not capable of decreasing CD20+ cell numbers. In vitro purging of peripheral blood stem cells harvests with rituximab could be part of a broader therapeutic strategy to be offered to lymphoproliferative disorder patients. Copyright Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

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