Hematopoietic cell transplants using cells from bone marrow, blood, or less often, umbilical cord blood cells are given after high- or moderate-dose chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. Donors can be the person with cancer (an autotransplant) or an HLA-matched related or unrelated person (an allotransplant—see also Overview of Cancer Therapy). Typically, such transplants are reserved for patients with a high risk that conventional therapies will fail or in whom initial therapy has failed.
Autotransplants are used to treat lymphomas, multiple myeloma, and rare solid cancers such as testis cancer, Wilms and Ewing sarcomas, and neuroblastomas. Very occasionally, they are used to treat leukemias.
Allotransplants are used to treat leukemias and some lymphomas.