[Favorable current prognosis after HLA-identical bone marrow transplantation for children with required severe aplastic anemia; evaluation of 30 years of bone marrow transplantation at the Leiden University Medical Center]

M van Steekelenburg, M H van Weel-Sipman, A H Zwinderman, P M Hoogerbrugge, J M J J Vossen, R M Egeler
Nederlands Tijdschrift Voor Geneeskunde 2002 August 17, 146 (33): 1542-6

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the results of 30 years of allogeneic HLA-identical bone marrow transplantation (BMT) as the treatment for children with acquired severe aplastic anaemia.

DESIGN: Retrospective, descriptive.

METHOD: Of all patients who underwent an HLA-identical sibling-donor BMT for severe aplastic anaemia at the Department of Paediatrics, Leiden University Medical Center, in the period 1971-2000, and had a follow-up period of at least 1 year, the medical data were reviewed. The patients were split into 2 groups: patients transplanted before 1989 (n = 24), and patients who had their BMT from 1989 onwards (n = 20). This was due to a change in the treatment policy, namely a reduction in the period between diagnosis and BMT, resulting in fewer blood transfusions as well as changes in the prophylaxis against graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) from 1989 onwards (combination therapy using methotrexate and cyclosporin).

RESULTS: There was an increase in the 1-year actuarial survival rate from 67% in the period before 1989 to 90% thereafter. The incidence of GvHD has significantly decreased since the introduction, in 1989, of the combination therapy using methotrexate and cyclosporin, with only 1/20 patients suffering from acute GvHD versus 13/24 prior to 1989 (p = 0.002). No patients acquired chronic GvHD after 1989, whereas before 1989, 10 patients had acquired this (p = 0.001).

CONCLUSION: The prognosis of allogeneic HLA-identical sibling transplantation for paediatric patients with severe aplastic anaemia has considerably improved over the last 30 years due to improved supportive care, a significant decrease in GvHD and a shorter period between diagnosis and BMT, with the result that less blood transfusions have been required and less sensitisation has occurred. The long-term survival chance has increased to 90%.

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