Incidence and severity of crucial late effects after allogeneic HSCT for malignancy under the age of 3 years: TBI is what really matters

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Younger children are considered to be more vulnerable to late effects (LE), which prompted us to study LE in patients after haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) for a haematological malignancy before the age of 3. In this multicentre EBMT study, cumulative incidence (CI) and severity of endocrine LE, central nervous system complications and secondary malignancies at 5, 10, 15 and 20 years of follow-up were assessed. Risk factors (RF) like gender, diagnosis, age at and year of HSCT, TBI- or chemoconditioning and GVHD were analysed. CI of any LE was 0.30, 0.52, 0.66 and 0.72 at 5, 10, 15 and 20 years after HSCT, respectively. In 25% of the patients, LE were severe at a median follow-up of 10.4 years. In multivariate analysis, only TBI was a RF for having any LE and for thyroid dysfunction and growth disturbance. Female gender was a RF for delayed pubertal development. Some more insight could be gained by descriptive analysis regarding the role of TBI and GVHD on the severity of LE. Although only five selected LE have been studied and median follow-up is relatively short, the incidence and severity of these LE are considerable but not different from what has been found in older children and TBI is the main RF.

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