Reduced intensity haemopoietic stem-cell transplantation for treatment of non-malignant diseases in children

Lancet. 2004 Jul 10-16;364(9429):156-62. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(04)16628-2.


Background: Transplantation of allogeneic haemopoietic stem cells can cure several non-malignant disorders in children. Transplantation with reduced intensity preparation might achieve the same goals but with less toxicity. We undertook a pilot study to determine engraftment rates, kinetics of engraftment, toxicity, and acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) associated with a uniform reduced intensity haemopoietic stem-cell transplant (HSCT) regimen for children with non-malignant diseases.

Methods: We studied 13 paediatric patients with non-malignant disorders who underwent reduced intensity HSCT at Children's Memorial Hospital from January, 2000, to February, 2004. Stem-cell sources included unrelated donor, matched-sibling peripheral blood stem cells, and unrelated cord blood. A uniform preparative regimen was used, consisting of fludarabine, busulfan, and anti-thymocyte globulin. Major endpoints were engraftment, transplant-related mortality at day 100, short-term toxicities, and incidence of acute GVHD.

Results: 72% of evaluable patients achieved full donor engraftment. There was rapid reconstitution of platelets (median 13.5 days) and neutrophils (median 18 days). Short-term toxicities were minimal, as seen by a median length of hospital stay of 7 days (between days 0-100). Incidence of grade II-IV acute GVHD was 8%. Two patients died before day 100 from underlying disease and viral infection, respectively (day 100 transplant-related mortality of 15%). The 1-year overall survival was 84% (95% CI 64-100). Most patients with immunodeficiencies and metabolic disorders had excellent donor engraftment and disease resolution or stabilisation, but most of those with haemoglobinopathies rejected their graft.

Interpretation: This reduced intensity regimen followed by HSCT provides a good alternative to myeloablative HSCT for children with non-malignant disorders, except for haemoglobinopathies, in which engraftment is poor. Even patients with unrelated donor haemopoietic stem-cell transplants had adequate engraftment with acceptable toxicities.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Graft vs Host Disease / prevention & control
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Hemoglobinopathies / mortality
  • Hemoglobinopathies / therapy
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes / mortality
  • Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes / therapy
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Metabolism, Inborn Errors / mortality
  • Metabolism, Inborn Errors / therapy
  • Survival Rate
  • Transplantation Chimera
  • Transplantation Conditioning / adverse effects
  • Transplantation Conditioning / methods*