The use of peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC) as a source of hematopoietic stem cells is steadily increasing and has nearly supplanted bone marrow. The present article reviews mobilization and collection of PBSC as well as its side effects. Specialized harvesting strategies such as large volume leukapheresis (LVL) and pediatric PBSC collection are included in this overview. Under steady state conditions, less than 0.05 % of the white blood cells (WBC) are CD34+ cells. Chemotherapy results in a 5 - 15-fold increase of PBSC. Combining chemotherapy and growth factors increases CD34+ cells up to 6% of WBC. In the allogeneic setting, granulocyte-colony stimulating factor is used alone for PBSC mobilization. Several factors affect the mobilization of PBSC: age, gender, type of growth factor, dose of the growth factor and in the autologous setting, patients diagnosis, chemotherapy regimen and number of previous chemotherapy cycles or radiation. Harvesting of PBSC can be performed with various blood cell separators using continuous or discontinuous flow technique. Continuous flow separators allow the processing of more blood compared with intermittent flow devices resulting in higher yields of CD34+ cells for transplantation. LVL can be used to increase the CD34+ yield in patients with low CD34+ pre-counts. Processing of more blood in LVL is achieved by an increase of the blood flow rate and an altered anticoagulation regimen. Specialized strategies were developed for pediatric PBSC collection considering the main limiting factors, extracorporeal volume and vascular access. Adverse events in PBSC collection can be subdivided in apheresis associated and mobilization associated side effects. Citrate reactions due to hypocalcemia are frequent during apheresis, especially in pediatric PBSC collection and LVL. Thrombocytopenia is often observed in patients after termination of apheresis due to platelet loss during PBSC harvesting. Muscle and bone pain are frequent adverse events in allogeneic stem cell mobilization but are usually tolerated under the use of analgesics. Spleen enlargement followed by rupture is a serious complication in allogeneic donors.
Keywords: Peripheral blood stem cells, mobilization, leukapheresis, large volume leukapheresis, CD34+ cell yield, adverse events
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