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Leukemia. 2012 Aug;26(8):1779-85. doi: 10.1038/leu.2012.55. Epub 2012 Mar 1.

Outcome of patients activating an unrelated donor search: the impact of transplant with reduced intensity conditioning in a large cohort of consecutive high-risk patients.

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The Hematology and Bone Marrow Transplant Units of Ospedali Riuniti di Bergamo, Bergamo, Italy.


An unrelated donor (UD) search was submitted to the Italian Bone Marrow Donor Registry between February 2002 and December 2004, for 326 consecutive patients with hematological malignancies, eligible for a reduced intensity conditioning (RIC) UD transplant. Only two regimens were allowed: melphalan, alemtuzumab, fludarabine and total body irradiation of 200 cGy (regimen A) and thiotepa, cyclophosphamide, anti-thymocyte globulin (regimen B). The outcome of patients receiving an UD transplant (n=121) was compared with patients who did not find a donor (n=205), in a time dependent analysis, correcting for time to transplant. The median follow up from activation of donor search was 6.1 years. UD transplant was associated with a significantly better survival in patients with acute leukemia and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) whereas only a favorable trend was documented for Hodgkin's disease. No survival benefit was registered for chronic leukemias. The outcome of the two different conditioning regimens was comparable, in terms of survival, transplant-related mortality and graft versus host disease. In conclusion, finding an UD and undergoing a RIC transplant significantly improves survival of patients with acute leukemia and NHL. The advantage is less clear for HD and chronic leukemias. The role of different conditioning regimens remains to be elucidated by prospective clinical trials.

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