Medline: 1321298

JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association 268(5): 607-612, 1992.

Changing trends in allogeneic bone marrow transplantation for leukemia in the 1980s.

Bortin MM, Horowitz MM, Gale RP, et al.


-To identify changes in practice and outcome of bone marrow transplants for leukemia in the 1980s. DESIGN--Comparison of key explanatory and outcome variables in five 2-year cohorts, from 1980 through 1981 to 1988 through 1989, using a large database of detailed clinical information. PATIENTS--Recipients (7788) of bone marrow transplants for acute lymphoblastic, acute myelogenous, or chronic myelogenous leukemia reported to the International Bone Marrow Transplant Registry, Milwaukee, Wis, by 185 transplant teams worldwide.

-Linear increases occurred during the periods 1980 through 1981 to 1988 through 1989 as follows with 95% confidence intervals: (1) transplants for chronic myelogenous leukemia from 14% +/- 2% to 35% +/- 2%; (2) transplants from unrelated donors from 1% +/- 1% to 7% +/- 1%; (3) preparative regimens without radiation from 3% +/- 1% to 30% +/- 2%; and (4) use of methotrexate plus cyclosporine to prevent graft-vs-host disease from 2% +/- 1% to 55% +/- 2%. Among recipients of human lymphocyte antigen-identical sibling bone marrow, the 2-year probability of treatment-related mortality decreased by 6% to 22%. The probability of relapse decreased from 46% +/- 6% to 38% +/- 6% in intermediate leukemia but did not change appreciably in early or advanced leukemia. Probabilities of leukemia-free survival improved from 51% +/- 4% to 57% +/- 3% in early leukemia, from 28% +/- 4% to 36% +/- 5% in intermediate leukemia, and from 12% +/- 4% to 18% +/- 5% in advanced leukemia. A separate analysis of a homogenous population of patients indicated that improvements in outcome in the 1980s were due to improvements in transplant practice rather than improved patient selection.

-Modest increases in leukemia-free survival rates occurred after human lymphocyte antigen-identical sibling bone marrow transplants in the 1980s. Improvements were due primarily to reductions in treatment-related mortality with little or no change in relapse risk. More effective antileukemia strategies and continued reductions in treatment-related toxic effects are needed.

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Dr. G. Quade