BACKGROUND: Patient survival in allogeneic cord blood transplantation is critically dependent on total nucleated cell (TNC) count or total CD34+ cell count per kg of body weight. Theoretically, viable CD34+ cell measurement at the time of infusion should give a better indication of the suitability of a certain transplant. The relation between measurements on different samples and viable CD34+ cell count on the graft itself was analyzed.
STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: Viable CD34+ cells were measured with a no-wash, single-platform technique with 7-aminoactinomycin D. Analysis was performed before freezing on the cord blood, after freezing and thawing on the cord blood unit itself, and on various samples.
RESULTS: Cord blood volume correlated poorly with viable CD34+ cell content (r = 0.24) as did initial TNC count and WBC count (r = 0.57 and r = 0.48, respectively). In contrast, viable CD34 cell content determined before freezing correlated well with viable CD34 cell content of the graft (r = 0.91) but was on average 25 percent higher than after freezing and thawing. The best correlations with the CD34+ cell content of the cord blood unit were obtained with CD34 cell measurements on a separate cryovial (r = 0.95). These CD34 cell measurements on frozen samples were found to be very reproducible (r = 0.96).
CONCLUSION: Viable CD34 cell count of the graft is both accurate and precise when measured on a separate sample frozen together with the cord blood unit. This measurement can be performed by the transplant center to exclude between-laboratory variability.