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Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2015 Jun;21(6):959-70. doi: 10.1016/j.bbmt.2014.11.676. Epub 2014 Dec 5.

Rabbit anti-T cell globulin in allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation.

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Alberta Blood and Marrow Transplant Program and University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Electronic address:
Department of Hematology and Cellular Therapy, Saint-Antoine Hospital and University Pierre & Marie Curie, Paris, France.
Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program and Section of Tumor Immunology, Laboratory for Translational Immunology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Anti-T cell globulin (ATG) is polyclonal IgG from rabbits immunized with human thymocytes or a human T cell line. Prophylaxis using ATG infused with conditioning for adult marrow or blood stem cell transplantation reduces both acute and chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). However, ATG is not or minimally efficacious in steroid refractory GVHD treatment. Regarding preemptive therapy, ATG is promising; however, further work is needed on establishing adequate biomarkers to be used as triggers for preemptive therapy before it can be used routinely. Relapse is not increased by ATG, except possibly in the setting of reduced-intensity conditioning. Infections are probably increased when using high but not low-dose ATG, except for Epstein-Barr virus-driven post-transplantation lymphoproliferative disorder, which may be increased even with low-dose ATG. Survival is not improved with ATG; however, survival free of immunosuppressive therapy is improved. Pharmacokinetics of ATG are highly variable, resulting in highly variable areas under the time-concentration curves. Optimized dosing of ATG might improve transplantation outcomes. In conclusion, ATG reduces GVHD and, thus, may improve quality of life, without compromising survival.


Antithymocyte globulin; Graft-versus-host disease; Hematopoietic cell transplantation

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