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Pediatrics. 1989 Jan;83(1):61-5.

Immunosuppressive therapy versus bone marrow transplantation for children with aplastic anemia.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Children's Medical Center, Wright State University School of Medicine, Dayton, Ohio.


A total of 15 patients 1 to 16 years of age were treated for aplastic anemia (13 of a severe degree) and followed-up for a mean of 24 months (range 2 to 64 months). Six patients had an HLA-matched sibling and underwent allogeneic bone marrow transplantation. Nine patients who lacked a suitable donor were given immunosuppressive therapy. Antithymocyte globulin was the initial treatment for eight of these nine patients. Two patients who failed to respond to antithymocyte globulin were then treated with cyclosporine A. Pretreatment age, hematologic measurements, duration of follow-up, and interval prior to therapy were similar between the two groups. All of the patients receiving bone marrow transplants had a complete response and now have normal blood cell counts. Six of nine patients (67%) responded to antithymocyte globulin and are now transfusion free, although three have mild thrombocytopenia. Both patients given cyclosporine A had a good response and are also transfusion free. Patients who underwent marrow transplantation had a significantly shorter period of transfusion dependence for RBCs (9 v 4 weeks, P less than .005) and platelets (5 v 21 weeks, P less than .05). The patients given immunosuppressive therapy have significantly lesser platelet counts in follow-up but have similar values for both hemoglobin and absolute granulocyte counts. Although HLA-matched bone marrow transplantation leads to a faster and more complete recovery for children with aplastic anemia, immunosuppressive therapy can provide a good outcome for children with this disorder.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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