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Leuk Lymphoma. 1996 Oct;23(3-4):221-6.

Unrelated donor bone marrow transplantation for hematological malignancies-current status.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis 55455, USA.


We have explored the efficacy and toxicity of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation from unrelated donors for hematologic malignancies and other disorders. While most marrow donors have been identified through the National Marrow Donor Program in cooperation with many international registries, the recent development of unrelated donor umbilical cord blood (UCB) banks has allowed us to also evaluate this stem cell source. Analysis of the first 211 URD BMT performed at the University of Minnesota shows an overall survival of 33%, with older recipient age and transplant from a donor with a major HLA-A or B mismatch independently associated with poorer survival. Analysis of engraftment of URD marrow shows increasing risk of delayed or incomplete engraftment with increasing HLA disparity between URD and recipient. GVHD is increased in recipients of URD marrow compared with recipients of related donor marrow. Malignant relapse, however, is less frequent in URD marrow recipients, perhaps due to an increased graft-versus-leukemia effect. Formal assessment shows quality of life in long term URD BMT survivors (beyond 2 years) is excellent, and not different from that seen in sibling marrow recipients. Data from patients receiving unrelated donor UCB transplantation at the University of Minnesota indicate that UCB is an acceptable alternate source of stem cells, at least for young recipients, and may be associated with a reduced incidence of GVHD. Ongoing studies at the University of Minnesota include examination of the applicability of unrelated UCB transplantation to adult recipients, and of the degree of HLA-incompatibility which can be tolerated in UCB transplantation. Studies to identify the optimal GVHD prophylaxis for URD BMT, and to examine the role of class II matching in transplant outcome are in progress.

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