Low transplant-related mortality with allogeneic stem cell transplantation in elderly patients

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Historically, age >60 years was considered a contraindication for allogeneic stem cell transplantation (allo-SCT). In recent years, elderly (>60 years) patients have become eligible for allo-SCT due to the application of reduced intensity conditioning (RIC). The present report summarizes our cumulative experience in a cohort of 17 elderly patients (age 60-67, median 62.5 years) with hematological malignancies treated with 18 allo-SCT procedures, mostly nonmyeloablative. In all, 14 patients received fludarabine and busulfan/busulfex regimen, three patients were conditioned with the fludarabine and low-dose TBI and one patient received busulfan alone. All patients displayed tri-lineage engraftment. The time to recovery of absolute neutrophil count ≥0.5 × 109/l was 9-27 days (median 14 days). The time interval to platelet recovery ≥20 × 109/l was 3-96 days (median 11 days). Veno-occlusive disease occurred only in 3/18 procedures and subsided with conventional treatment. Nonfatal transplant-related complications occurred in 6/18 (33.3%) procedures including: renal failure, arrhythmia, CNS bleeding, cystitis, typhlitis and gastrointestinal bleeding. Transplant-related mortality occurred in 6/18 (33.3%) episodes. Of the 17 patients, 12 (12/18 episodes) were discharged. Five of 17 (29%) patients survived (median follow-up 11 m, range 8-53 m). Our data suggest that RIC-allo-SCT may be safely applied in the elderly, suggesting that allogeneic immunotherapy may become an important tool for treatment of hematological malignancies without an age limit.

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