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Blood Res. 2018 Jun;53(2):145-151. doi: 10.5045/br.2018.53.2.145. Epub 2018 Jun 25.

Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in congenital hemoglobinopathies with myeloablative conditioning and rabbit anti-thymocyte globulin.

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Department of Pediatrics, Catholic Hematology Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Pediatrics, Kyung Hee University Hospital at Gangdong, Kyung Hee University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.



Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is a curative therapy for β-thalassemia major (TM) and sickle cell disease (SCD) in children. Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and treatment-related mortality (TRM) remain significant challenges to improving survival after HSCT. Here, we analyzed the outcome of TM and SCD patients, who received allogeneic HSCT with myeloablative conditioning at our institution.


Twenty-two patients (15 TM, 7 SCD), with a median age of 9 years (range, 1.6-16.9), underwent allogeneic HSCT using busulfan, cyclophosphamide and rabbit anti-thymocyte globulin-based conditioning. Cells were derived from either the bone marrow (8 patients), or peripheral blood stem cells (14 patients). The majority of patients received HSCT from a matched sibling donor (N=18). GVHD prophylaxis included cyclosporine and short course methotrexate.


All patients achieved donor engraftment. Two SCD patients died from TRM-related grade IV gut GVHD (N=1) or severe bronchiolitis obliterans (BO) (N=1). Cumulative incidence of acute and chronic GVHD was 36.4% and 32.7%, respectively. Veno-occlusive disease (VOD) occurred in 8 patients (36.4%), but resolved in all instances. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-related post-transplantation lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD) occurred in 1 patient. The overall survival (OS) was 90.9% (TM 100%, SCD 71.4%), with all patients achieving transfusion independence, while 8 achieved complete donor chimerism.


Busulfan, cyclophosphamide, and ATG-based conditioning for HSCT of TM and SCD patients did not result in graft failure, although modifications may be required to reduce VOD incidence. Further changes to donor type and cell source prioritization are necessary to minimize TRM and morbidity caused by GVHD.


Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; Myeloablative conditioning; Sickle cell disease; Thalassemia major

Conflict of interest statement

Authors' Disclosures of Potential Conflicts of Interest: No potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article were reported.

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