Metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular risk in survivors after hematopoietic cell transplantation

Bone Marrow Transplant. 2012 May;47(5):619-25. doi: 10.1038/bmt.2011.118. Epub 2011 Jun 6.


Increasing numbers of hematopoietic cell transplantations (HCTs) are being performed annually with a greater number of long-term survivors. There is increasing concern regarding the late complications and long-term effects that are secondary to treatment exposures before HCT as well as during the HCT conditioning therapy. In both the autologous as well as allogeneic transplant setting, transplant survivors experience mortality rates higher than the general population and the risk of premature cardiovascular (CV)-related death is increased 2.3-fold compared with the general population. The etiology of CV-related deaths in HCT survivors is multifactorial; however, increasing evidence suggests that HCT survivors are at higher risk of developing adverse CV risk factors leading to the development of the metabolic syndrome (a constellation high triglyceride levels, low high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, hypertension, high fasting blood sugars and increased waist circumference), which then predisposes individuals to risk for early CV-related death. Resistance to insulin is the primary underlying pathophysiologic mechanism that contributes to the development of metabolic syndrome and HCT survivors have been shown to be more likely to develop hypertension, hyperlipidemia and to be insulin resistant. However, the relationship between HCT-related treatment exposures (total body irradiation, high dose chemotherapy, calcineurin inhibitors, steroids, etc) and transplant-related complications (such as GVHD) with the development of CV risk factors and insulin resistance is still in the early stages of investigation. Greater knowledge of the concern regarding CV risk in HCT survivors among both patients and care providers will provide the opportunity for appropriate screening as well as interventions for modifiable risk factors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Composition
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality
  • Child
  • Female
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / mortality
  • Human Growth Hormone / deficiency
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / complications
  • Metabolic Syndrome / etiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk
  • Risk Factors
  • Sentinel Surveillance
  • Survivors
  • Transplantation Conditioning / adverse effects
  • Transplantation, Autologous / adverse effects
  • Transplantation, Homologous / adverse effects
  • Whole-Body Irradiation / adverse effects


  • Human Growth Hormone