Strategies to enhance the graft versus tumour effect after allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation.

Affiliation

Clinical Haematology and Bone Marrow Transplantation, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Royal Melbourne Hospital, Victoria, Australia. [Email]

Abstract

Relapse of haematological malignancies after allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplant is a major cause of mortality. The immunological mechanisms that may lead to disease relapse may include immunological immaturity prior to reconstitution of the allogeneic immune system, tumour antigen downregulation or promotion of T-cell exhaustion by interactions with the tumour microenvironment. Current therapeutic strategies for post-transplant relapse are limited in their efficacy and alternative approaches are required. In this review, we discuss the mechanisms of T and NK-cell immune evasion that facilitate relapse of haematological malignancies after allogeneic stem cell transplantation, and explore emerging strategies to augment the allogeneic immune system in order to construct a more potent graft versus tumour response.