[Unrelated donor stem cell transplantation in children: low toxicity using a GvHD-prophylaxis regimen with CSA, MTX, metronidazole,iv-immunoglobulin and ATG]

F Graf Finckenstein, T Zabelina, M Dürken, J Dahlke, N Kröger, W Krüger, G Janka-Schaub, R Erttmann, A R Zander, H Kabisch
Klinische Pädiatrie 2002, 214 (4): 206-11

BACKGROUND: Unrelated donor (UD) hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is accepted as a therapy for leukaemic diseases and varying inborn diseases if a suitable related donor cannot be found. The goal of immunosuppressive therapy with UD-HSCT is an effective prevention of graft-versus-host-disease (GvHD) on one hand. On the other hand an optimal balance with immunocompetence of the transplanted bone marrow is desirable in order to prevent graft failure, infection and, in the case of leukaemic diseases, potentially control the underlying disease.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Between 1992 and 2000 49 patients aged 11 months to 16.7 years received an UD-HSCT in Hamburg. Underlying diseases were leukaemia or MDS in 35, of these ALL in 21, hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) in 9, immunodeficiency or inborn error of metabolism in 5 patients. GvHD-prophylaxis consisted of a combination of Cyclosporin A (CSA), methotrexate (MTX), metronidazole, IgM-enriched iv-immunoglobulin (ivIg) (Pentaglobin(R)) or ivIgG and anti-thymocyte-globulin (ATG). Within the same time span 10 patients with ALL received a matched related donor HSCT (MRD-HSCT). GvHD-prophylaxis in these patients was done without ATG in 8 of 10 cases. UD-HSCT were analyzed for survival, relapse and toxicity. Probability of survival of the patients with ALL after UD-HSCT was compared with results of MRD-HSCT in children with ALL.

RESULTS: The Kaplan-Meier estimates of three year overall-survival (OS) were 74 % for all patients. Probability of disease-free survival (DFS) at three years was 62 % for leukaemia/MDS-patients and 100 % for the HLH-patients. Acute GvHD (aGvHD) grades II or III occurred in 51 % of patients. Chronic GvHD (cGvHD) occurred in 22 % of patients. There were 5 cases of treatment-related mortality (TRM). Probability of DFS for patients with ALL at three years was 65 % after UD-HSCT and 30 % in the patients after MRD-HSCT.

CONCLUSIONS: UD-HSCT in children is an effective and safe therapy. A GvHD-prophylaxis regimen combining the standard immunosuppressive agents CSA and MTX with ivIg, metronidazole and serotherapy using ATG may result in a low incidence of severe GvHD-complications and low TRM rate without increase in relapse rates.

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