Antithymocyte globulin in reduced-intensity conditioning regimen allows a high disease-free survival exempt of long-term chronic graft-versus-host disease

Raynier Devillier, Sabine Fürst, Jean El-Cheikh, Luca Castagna, Samia Harbi, Angela Granata, Roberto Crocchiolo, Claire Oudin, Bilal Mohty, Reda Bouabdallah, Christian Chabannon, Anne-Marie Stoppa, Aude Charbonnier, Florence Broussais-Guillaumot, Boris Calmels, Claude Lemarie, Jèrôme Rey, Norbert Vey, Didier Blaise
Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation 2014, 20 (3): 370-4
Nonmyeloablative (NMA) regimens allow the use of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT) in patients considered unfit for standard myeloablative conditioning (MAC) regimens using high-dose alkylating agents with or without total body irradiation (TBI). Reduced-intensity conditioning (RIC) regimens, based on fludarabine (Flu), busulfan (Bu), and rabbit antithymocyte globulin (r-ATG), represent an intermediate alternative between NMA and MAC regimens. This platform was subsequently optimized by the introduction of i.v. Bu and the use of 5 mg/kg r-ATG, based on the hypothesis that these modifications would improve the safety of RIC allo-HSCT. Here we report a study conducted at our institution on 206 patients, median age 59 years, who underwent allo-HSCT after conditioning with Flu, 2 days of i.v. Bu, and 5 mg/kg r-ATG (FBx-ATG) between 2005 and 2012. The prevalence of grade III-IV acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) was 9%, and that of extensive chronic GVHD was 22%. Four-year nonrelapse mortality (NRM), relapse, and overall survival (OS) rates were 22%, 36%, and 54%, respectively. NRM tended to be influenced by comorbidities (hematopoietic cell transplantation-specific comorbidity index [HCT-CI] <3 versus HCT-CI ≥3: 18% versus 27%; P = .075), but not by age (<60 years, 20% versus ≥60 years, 25%; P = .142). Disease risk significantly influenced relapse (2 years: low, 8%, intermediate, 28%, high, 34%; very high, 63%; P = .017). Both disease risk (hazard ratio [95% confidence interval]: intermediate, 2.1 [0.8 to 5.2], P = .127; high, 3.4 [1.3 to 9.1], P = .013; very high, 4.0 [1.1 to 14], P = .029) and HCT-CI (hazard ratio [95% confidence interval]: HCT-CI ≥3, 1.7 (1.1 to 2.8), P = .018) influenced OS, but age and donor type did not. The FBx-ATG RIC regimen reported here is associated with low mortality and high long-term disease-free survival without persistent GVHD in both young and old patients. It represents a valuable platform for developing further post-transplantation strategies aimed at reducing the incidence of relapse, particularly in the setting of high-risk disease.

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