Patients with asymptomatic blood condition can donate stem cells, Dana-Farber study finds

Patients with clonal hematopoiesis, an asymptomatic blood condition, can safely serve as stem cell transplant donors, which may lead to expanded donation pools, a study published Nov. 18 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found.

Researchers from Boston-based Dana-Farber Cancer Institute used stem cell samples from 1,727 donors age 40 and older to analyze 46 genes for mutations commonly found in clonal hematopoiesis and found that 388 patients had the condition.

Using the samples, researchers assessed whether the mutations from 102 donors could still be found in the recipients three months and one year after transplant.

"We found that 85% of CH clones from the donor transplants had engrafted,” R. Coleman Lindsley, the study's senior author and sssistant professor of medical oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, said in a press release. "Unexpectedly, we also found that patients survived longer overall when at least 1% of the transplanted cells had DNMT3A mutations than patients receiving non-CH transplants and that this effect was due to a lower chance of disease recurrence."

None of the recipients of transplants with DNMT3A or TET2 gene mutations developed leukemia from donor cells. Of the eight patients who developed donor cell leukemia, seven had received cells from donors with clonal hematopoiesis whose stem cells harbored rare mutations.

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