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Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2009 Aug;15(8):956-62. doi: 10.1016/j.bbmt.2009.04.008.

Clinical significance of serum hepcidin levels on early infectious complications in allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.

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Department of Hematology and Oncology, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan.


The association of iron overload with complications of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) has been suggested in previous studies. Because hepcidin plays a central role in the regulation of iron homeostasis, we analyzed the association between pretransplant serum hepcidin-25 levels and early infectious complications after allogeneic HSCT. We studied 55 consecutive adult patients with a median age of 47 years (range: 20-64 years) who underwent allogeneic HSCT for hematologic malignancies at our institution. Thirty-two patients had myelogenous malignancies; the remaining 23 had lymphogenous malignancies. The median pretransplant serum hepcidin level of patients in the study was 21.6 ng/mL (range: 1.4-371 ng/mL), which was comparable to that of healthy volunteers (median: 19.1 ng/mL [range: 2.3-37 ng/mL]; n = 17). When cumulative incidences of documented bacterial and cytomegalovirus (CMV) infections at day 100 were compared according to pretransplant hepcidin-25 levels, the incidence of bacterial, but not CMV, infection, was significantly higher in the high-hepcidin group (> or = 50 ng/mL; n = 17) than in the low-hepcidin group (<50 ng/mL; n = 38) (65% [95% confidence interval, 38%-82%] versus 11% [3%-23%]; P < .001). This finding was confirmed by multivariate Cox analysis adjusted for confounders, including pretransplant ferritin and C-reactive protein (CRP) levels. No fungal infection was documented in either group. These results suggest that the pretransplant serum hepcidin-25 level may be a useful marker for predicting the risk of early bacterial complications after allogeneic HSCT. Larger prospective studies are, however, warranted to confirm our findings.

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