Medical Definition of Donor lymphocyte infusion

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Donor lymphocyte infusion: (DLI) A cancer treatment in which lymphocytes from a bone marrow donor are infused into the person who received the original bone marrow transplant. The goal of donor lymphocyte infusion is to induce a remission of the cancer by a process called the graft-versus-tumor (GVT) effect. Donor lymphocyte infusion is basically meant to boost the GVT effect. The donor lymphocytes, which are T cells, attack and kill residual cancer cells. That is the strategy.

Donor lymphocyte infusion has mainly been used to treat relapsed chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). Patients with relapsed acute leukemia, chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), myelodysplasia (MDS), Hodgkin disease, non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), and multiple myeloma have also been treated by donor leukocyte infusion.

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Reviewed on 12/21/2018

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