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Pediatr Transplant. 2004 Oct;8(5):464-74.

Risk factors in pediatric stem cell transplantation for leukemia.

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Department of Pediatrics, Karolinska Institutet, Huddinge University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.


To investigate which factors impact on survival, relapse, relapse free survival, transplant-related mortality (TRM) and graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) in children who undergo allogeneic stem cell transplantation, we included all 181 children transplanted due to leukemia at our unit. At the end of follow up 54% of the patients were alive, 27% had died due to relapse while 19% had died of other causes. Survival was similar in recipients of related (55%) and unrelated grafts (48%). Risk factors identified in univariate analysis were brought into a multivariable analysis. However, an unrelated donor was not identified as a risk factor for any of the five end-points analysed. A donor positive for three to four herpes viruses increased the risk of acute GVHD, TRM and death. A female to male transplant increased the risk of TRM, particularly if combined with a mismatch. Early stage of disease as well as human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-matching independently predicted survival. The risk of relapse increased after 1992. Chronic GVHD independently decreased the risk of relapse (relative risk RR, 0.39) and death (RR 0.42). We conclude that in children with leukemia other specific donor characteristics such as HLA-matching, gender, parity, and exposure to herpes viruses were more important for outcome than relationship.

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