Favorable outcomes of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in children and adolescents with Diamond-Blackfan anemia

Blood Adv. 2020 Apr 28;4(8):1760-1769. doi: 10.1182/bloodadvances.2019001210.


Diamond-Blackfan anemia (DBA) is a congenital pure red cell aplasia associated with congenital abnormalities and cancer predisposition. Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) can correct the hematological phenotype and is indicated in transfusion-dependent patients. In 70 children reported to the German DBA and French HSCT registries, HSCT was performed from 1985 to 2017. Median age at HSCT was 5.5 years (range, 0.9-17.3 years). Two-thirds of patients (64%) were transplanted from a matched sibling donor (MSD), and most procedures were performed after the year 1999 (73%). Primary engraftment was achieved in all patients. One patient developed secondary graft failure. Cumulative incidence of acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) was 24% for °II-IV (95% confidence interval [CI], 16% to 37%) and 7% for °III-IV (95% CI, 3% to 17%); cumulative incidence of chronic GVHD was 11% (95% CI, 5% to 22%). The probability of chronic GVHD-free survival (cGFS) was 87% (95% CI, 79% to 95%) and significantly improved over time (<2000: 68% [95% CI, 47% to 89%] vs ≥2000: 94% [95% CI, 87% to 100%], P < .01). cGFS was comparable following HSCT from a MSD and an unrelated donor (UD). Of note, no severe chronic GVHD or deaths were reported following MSD-HSCT after 1999. The difference of cGFS in children transplanted <10 years of age compared with older patients did not reach statistical significance (<10 years: 90% [95% CI, 81% to 99%] vs 10-18 years 78% [95% CI, 58% to 98%]). In summary, these data indicate that HSCT is efficient and safe in young DBA patients and should be considered if a MSD or matched UD is available. HSCT for transfusion dependency only must be critically discussed in older patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aged
  • Anemia, Diamond-Blackfan* / therapy
  • Child
  • Graft vs Host Disease* / etiology
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Unrelated Donors