Thymoglobulin prevents chronic graft-versus-host disease, chronic lung dysfunction, and late transplant-related mortality: long-term follow-up of a randomized trial in patients undergoing unrelated donor transplantation

Andrea Bacigalupo, Teresa Lamparelli, Giovanni Barisione, Paolo Bruzzi, Stefano Guidi, Paolo Emilio Alessandrino, Paolo di Bartolomeo, Rosi Oneto, Barbara Bruno, Nicoletta Sacchi, Maria Teresa van Lint, Alberto Bosi et al.
Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation 2006, 12 (5): 560-5
This is an update of a randomized study on antithymocyte globulin (ATG; Thymoglobulin) before transplantation in patients undergoing unmanipulated marrow transplantation from unrelated donors. The median follow-up for surviving patients is 5.7 years. At last follow-up, chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) was scored in 60% of non-ATG and in 37% of ATG patients (P=.05), and extensive chronic GVHD was present in 41% and 15%, respectively (P=.01). Chronic lung dysfunction was diagnosed in 51% versus 19% of patients (P=.005). Forced vital capacity decreased significantly with time in non-ATG patients (P=.005), but not in patients who received ATG (P=.30). The proportion of patients with Karnofsky scores of >or=90% at 4 years was 57% versus 89% in non-ATG versus ATG patients (P=.03). The actuarial 6-year survival for all patients randomized was 31% versus 44% (non-ATG versus ATG; P=.80). The cumulative incidence of transplant-related mortality was 51% versus 41% (P=.70) and of relapse was 32% versus 40% (P=.90). For patients who survived 1 year, transplant-related mortality was 25% versus 3% (P=.03), and actuarial survival was 58% versus 85% (P=.09). In conclusion, the addition of ATG to cyclosporine/methotrexate provides significant protection against extensive chronic GVHD and chronic lung dysfunction, reduces late transplant mortality, and improves quality of life in patients undergoing unrelated donor transplantation.

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