Purpose: Most patients diagnosed with malignant osteopetrosis die during infancy or early childhood from hemorrhage and infection due to bone marrow failure. Allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT) has been reported to provide curative therapy for this disorder. We report our experience with eight patients with malignant osteopetrosis who underwent BMT.
Patients and methods: Between May 1987 and August 1992, eight children with malignant osteopetrosis underwent allogeneic BMT. Median age at BMT was 9 months (range, 2-36 months). Six patients received marrow from HLA-identical sibling donors, one from phenotypically matched father, and one from a one antigen mismatched father. BMT conditioning for all patients was busulfan 16 mg/kg and cyclophosphamide 200 mg/kg each administered over 4 days. Graft versus host disease (GVHD) prophylaxis included cyclosporin A in six patients or cyclosporin A and methotrexate in two patients.
Results: Six patients, including those who received bone marrow from their father's, engrafted as documented by bone marrow biopsy showing an increase in osteoclasts in all cases and by chromosomal analysis in four patients. Two patients died without engraftment. Three out of six patients engrafted are alive and well at the follow-up of 48, 63, and 81 months. Serum calcium, alkaline, and acid phosphatase levels normalized within 2 months. These patients have full bone marrow reconstitution. Serial radiologic studies revealed bone marrow remodelling and a new nonsclerotic bone formation. Vision improved dramatically in the youngest patient.
Conclusion: BMT offers cure to patients with malignant osteopetrosis with reconstitution of bone marrow and correction of metabolic disturbances. In our experience, reversibility in neurosensory deficit is possible when BMT is done at an early age.