Hematopoietic cell transplantation for aplastic anemia

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Purpose of review

Improvements in allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) with better donor selection, conditioning regimens and graft vs. host disease prophylaxis make it reasonable to move HCT earlier in the algorithm for management of severe aplastic anemia (SAA). Recent progress in transplantation is reviewed whereas issues related to developing countries are also addressed.

Recent findings

Multiple research centers are reporting on clonality, mutations and telomere disorders in SAA, which may help to choose the most appropriate therapy upfront. Eltrombopag, in combination with immunosuppressive therapy (IST), has shown remarkable improvement over historical IST, and long-term follow-up is awaited. In younger patients and in experienced centers, matched unrelated-donor (MUD) and related haploidentical transplants (haplo-HCT) are being reported with survival approaching that seen with sibling transplants. Literature from resource-limited countries highlight the need to modify guidelines to make them affordable and cost-effective. Bone marrow remains the graft source of choice; peripheral blood stem cells may be acceptable in special circumstances in resource-constrained countries.


The potential of novel research findings and new therapeutic trials should be maximized by validation in different centers, countries and patient populations to provide personalized care to patients with aplastic anemia.

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