• BM = bone marrow;
  • NC(s) = nucleated cell(s);
  • PBPC(s) = peripheral blood progenitor cell(s)

BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to assess the feasibility of freezing mobilized peripheral blood progenitor cell (PBPC) components at higher cell concentrations than are classically recommended for bone marrow. This approach might have potential benefits, such as lower cost of processing and storage and less risk of the complications associated with the transfusion of large component volumes and large quantities of DMSO.

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: In the first phase, small aliquots of 19 apheresis components were cryopreserved at standard and higher cell concentrations (Aliquots A and B, respectively). In the second phase, 21 apheresis components were split into two bags each and frozen at standard (Bag A) and high (Bag B) cell concentrations. The differences in viability, cloning efficiency, and nucleated cell recovery in Bags A and B were examined. Finally, the hematologic recovery of 10 patients who underwent autologous transplantation with PBPC components frozen at high cell concentrations was analyzed.

RESULTS: The median cell concentration at freezing was 94 (57-100) × 106 per mL and 291 (220-467) × 106 per mL for Aliquots A and B, respectively, and 90.9 (45.4-92) × 106 per mL and 332 (171-582) × 106 per mL for Bags A and B, respectively. The viability was significantly lower in samples frozen at higher cell concentrations: 92 versus 83 percent (p = 0.001) and 87 versus 77 percent (p<0.001) for Aliquots and Bags A and B, respectively. Significant differences were not observed in the recovery of total nucleated cells (102 vs. 101% and 98 vs. 105%) or the cloning efficiency after thawing (13 vs. 16% and 27 vs. 23%) for Aliquots and Bags A and B, respectively. The time to granulocyte engraftment >0.5 × 109 per L and platelet engraftment >20 × 109 per L was 9 (8-11) and 10.5 (7-21) days, respectively.

CONCLUSION: The cryopreservation of PBPC components at standard concentrations and 3.3 (1.8-6.2)-fold cell concentrations has no adverse effect on the function of HPCs after thawing.