Outcomes remain poor for refractory severe aplastic anemia (SAA) patients. Alternative donor transplantation may be considered, but results from previous studies are not encouraging. We conducted a prospective nationwide phase 2 study to assess unrelated cord blood (CB) transplantation (CBT) efficacy and safety in refractory SAA patients (Aplastic Anemia and Cord Blood Transplantation protocol). To demonstrate a significant difference in 1-year survival from 20% (null hypothesis) to 50% (alternative hypothesis), we needed to include 25 transplanted patients and therefore included 26 (median age, 16 years). Eligibility criteria required 1 or 2 unrelated CB units, containing separately or together >4 × 107 frozen nucleated cells (NCs) per kilogram of recipient body weight. Conditioning regimen comprised fludarabine (FLU), cyclophosphamide (CY), antithymocyte globulin (ATG), and 2-Gy total body irradiation (TBI). With a median follow-up of 38.8 months, engraftment occurred in 23 patients (88%); cumulative incidences of grade II-IV acute and chronic graft-versus-host disease were 45.8% and 36%, respectively. Twenty-three patients were alive at 1 year, with an 88.5% overall survival (OS) rate, differing significantly from the expected 20% (P < .0001; 84% OS at 2 years). CBT with units containing ≥4 × 107 frozen NCs per kilogram is therefore a valuable curative option for young adults with refractory SAA and no available matched unrelated donors. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT01343953.
© 2018 by The American Society of Hematology.