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J Clin Oncol. 2010 Feb 20;28(6):1011-6. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2009.25.6693. Epub 2010 Jan 11.

Life expectancy in patients surviving more than 5 years after hematopoietic cell transplantation.

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Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center D2-100, PO Box 19024, Seattle, WA 98109-1024, USA


PURPOSE Hematopoietic cell transplantation can cure hematologic malignancies and other diseases, but this treatment can also cause late complications. Previous studies have evaluated the cumulative effects of late complications on survival, but longer-term effects on life expectancy after hematopoietic cell transplantation have not been assessed. PATIENTS AND METHODS We used standard methods to evaluate mortality, projected life expectancy, and causes of death in a cohort of 2,574 patients who survived without recurrence of the original disease for at least 5 years after allogeneic or autologous hematopoietic cell transplantation from 1970 through 2002. Sex- and age-specific comparisons were made with US population data. Results Estimated survival of the cohort at 20 years after transplantation was 80.4% (95% CI, 78.1% to 82.6%). During 22,923 person-years of follow-up, 357 deaths occurred. Mortality rates remained four- to nine-fold higher than the expected population rate for at least 30 years after transplantation, yielding an estimated 30% lower life expectancy compared with that in the general population, regardless of current age. In rank order, the leading causes of excess deaths were second malignancies and recurrent disease, followed by infections, chronic graft-versus-host disease, respiratory diseases, and cardiovascular diseases. CONCLUSION Patients who have survived for at least 5 years after hematopoietic cell transplantation without recurrence of the original disease have a high probability of surviving for an additional 15 years, but life expectancy is not fully restored. Further effort is needed to reduce the burden of disease and treatment-related complications in this population.

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