Comparable long-term survival after unrelated and HLA-matched sibling donor hematopoietic stem cell transplantations for acute leukemia in children younger than 18 months

Mary Eapen, Pablo Rubinstein, Mei-Jie Zhang, Bruce M Camitta, Cladd Stevens, Mitchell S Cairo, Stella M Davies, John J Doyle, Joanne Kurtzberg, Michael A Pulsipher, Juan J Ortega, Andromachi Scaradavou, Mary M Horowitz, John E Wagner
Journal of Clinical Oncology 2006 January 1, 24 (1): 145-51

PURPOSE: To describe outcomes after unrelated donor stem cell transplantation (HCT) in children (< 18 months at diagnosis) with acute leukemia and compare these with outcomes after human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-matched sibling donor HCT.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: We compared the results of unrelated donor HCT with bone marrow (n = 85) or cord blood grafts (n = 81) and HLA-matched sibling donor HCT with bone marrow grafts (n = 101) for acute myeloid or acute lymphoblastic leukemia using Cox proportional hazards models. Unrelated donor HCT recipients were younger, more likely to have MLL gene rearrangement, to have advanced leukemia, and to receive irradiation before HCT.

RESULTS: Treatment-related mortality rates were 6%, 15%, and 31% after matched sibling, unrelated donor bone marrow, and cord blood HCT, respectively. Risks of relapse, overall and leukemia-free survival were significantly associated with disease status at transplantation. Though leukemia recurrence was lowest after unrelated donor HCT in first clinical remission (CR), overall survival, and leukemia-free survival rates were similar after matched sibling and unrelated donor HCT, after adjustment for disease status. Relapse, overall and leukemia-free survival did not differ by graft type (bone marrow v cord blood) or type of leukemia. Three-year probabilities of leukemia-free survival were 49% and 54% after HLA-matched sibling and unrelated donor transplantation in first CR, respectively. Corresponding rates for those with advanced leukemia were 20% and 30%.

CONCLUSION: Unrelated donor HCT should be considered for infants with acute leukemia in first CR using the same eligibility criteria as are currently used for those with HLA matched sibling donors.

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