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Clin Transplant. 2013 Mar-Apr;27(2):E91-E100. doi: 10.1111/ctr.12091. Epub 2013 Feb 6.

Long-term outcomes of antithymocyte globulin in patients with hematological malignancies undergoing myeloablative allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

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Bone Marrow Transplantation Center, School of Medicine, The First Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China.


Antithymocyte globulin (ATG) has shown efficacy in preventing acute GVHD (aGVHD) in allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT), but its efficacy in chronic GVHD (cGVHD) and long-term outcomes remains controversial. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate potential benefit and risk of prophylactic ATG use in myeloablative HCT. We searched Pubmed, EMBASE, Cochrane databases, and included 10 trials (two RCTs and eight retrospective) comparing ATG use vs. control with a total of 1859 patients. The median follow-ups were over two yr. Outcomes assessed included overall cGVHD, extensive cGVHD, overall survival (OS), disease-free survival, relapse, and causes of death. Our results showed ATG significantly decreased overall cGVHD (RR = 0.59; 95% CI: 0.53-0.66, p < 0.00001), extensive cGVHD (RR = 0.34; 95% CI: 0.25-0.47, p < 0.00001). Pooled results also showed ATG use was associated with a marginal increased risk of relapse (RR = 1.28; 95% CI: 1.01-1.63, p = 0.04), and a non-inferior OS (HR = 0.86; 95% CI: 0.74-1.01, p = 0.06). We conclude prophylactic use of ATG exerts a favorable effect in reducing cGVHD without survival impairment in a long term, although a higher relapse rate is a major threat.

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