TOXICITY to the hemopoietic cells of the bone marrow is a common doselimiting factor in cancer therapy. It has long been known that animals could be rescued from lethal doses of drugs or radiation by the infusion of their own or genetically identical bone marrow. Recently, there has been renewed interest in bone marrow transplantation in leukemia, aplastic anemia, and immunodeficiency diseases, and an increasing number of transplants are now being performed in lymphomas and solid tumors. I shall review recent progress in marrow transplantation in cancer.
There are two potential sources of bone marrow for transplantation of patients with cancer: the patient's own marrow or marrow from a histocompatible donor, usually an HLA-identical sibling. The former procedure is referred to as autologous and the latter as allogeneic transplantation. An autologous or autotransplant may use marrow obtained either just before the transplant or cryopreserved marrow obtained months to years earlier.