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Background

Granulocyte–colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) is routinely used for mobilization of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells preceding autologous transplantation after high-dose chemotherapy in hematologic malignancies. However, due to high mobilization failure rates, alternative mobilization strategies are required.

Study Design and Methods

Patients who poorly mobilized CD34+ hematopoietic cells (HCs) with G-CSF additionally received the CXCR4 antagonist plerixafor. The phenotype of CD34+ HCs collected after this plerixafor-induced “rescue” mobilization, in regard to adhesion molecule and CD133, CD34, and CD38 expression in comparison to CD34+ HCs collected after traditional G-CSF administration in good mobilizers, was analyzed flow cytometrically. To confirm previous studies in our patient cohort, the efficiency of mobilization and subsequent engraftment after this “on-demand” plerixafor mobilization were analyzed.

Results

Pronounced mobilization occurred after plerixafor administration in poor mobilizers, resulting in similar CD34+ cell yields as obtained by G-CSF in good mobilizers, whereby plerixafor increased the content of primitive CD133+/CD34+/CD38– cells. The surface expression profiles of the marrow homing and retention receptors CXCR4, VLA-4, LFA-1, and CD44 on mobilized CD34+ cells and hematopoietic recovery after transplantation were similar in patients receiving G-CSF plus plerixafor or G-CSF. Unexpectedly, the expression levels of respective adhesion receptors were not related to mobilization efficiency or engraftment.

Conclusion

The results show that CD34+ HCs collected by plerixafor-induced rescue mobilization are qualitatively equivalent to CD34+ HCs collected after traditional G-CSF mobilization in good mobilizers, in regard to their adhesive phenotype and engraftment potential. Thereby, plerixafor facilitates the treatment of poor mobilizers with autologous HC transplantation after high-dose chemotherapy.