Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in older persons: respecting the heterogeneity of age

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Demographic trends establish that older adults are the fastest growing segment of population, with over 19% of the population expected to be aged >65 years by 2030. As the risk for hematologic malignancies increases with age, it is imperative that our field continues to strive to individualize and manage risk and benefit in an aging population. While hematologic diseases are more common in the elderly, only a small minority of patients with hematological malignancy aged >65 years receive allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation, relative to the burden of disease in this population. In this editorial we explore some of the obstacles to transplantation, the rationale to consider the procedure in the older adult and ways that the stem cell consultative process can be individualized. Finally, we outline key areas where additional research is needed.

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