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Advances in Transplantation
Featured Articles

To transplant or not: Clinical decisions in elderly patients with AML

Although intensive induction chemotherapy can lead to complete remission rates of 40-60% in elderly patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), median survival is typically less than 12 months, according to the authors of this review article. The authors’ review challenges a common perception that older patients cannot tolerate intensive therapies. Evaluation of recent research demonstrates that older age per se is not a contraindication for allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT), and that high comorbidity index score and poor performance status are more predictive of poor outcomes. They conclude that HCT is feasible and can provide approximately 40% survival at two years in select older patients and note that “the short duration of CR demands that leukemia and transplant physicians collaborate immediately after diagnosis to move quickly toward HCT.”

Ustun C, et al. Bone Marrow Transplant

Related: New CME on AML/MDS in older patients

Review: HCT for Burkitt lymphoma

In this review, the authors examine the role of allogeneic and autologous HCT in the treatment of adults with Burkitt lymphoma (BL). They note that although intensive chemotherapy can often result in long-term disease-free survival, a significant proportion of patients with high-risk BL will have refractory disease or will relapse. Topics discussed include identifying high-risk patients, offering upfront autologous HCT vs. HCT for relapsed or refractory disease, standard and reduced-intensity allogeneic HCT, and HCT in HIV-positive BL patients and those with B-cell lymphoma unclassified. The authors identify future research directions that may improve outcomes in BL, such as molecular diagnostics, FDG-PET scanning, and minimal residual disease monitoring.

Ahmed SO, et al. Bone Marrow Transplant

Comparable outcomes in AML/MDS using related, unrelated donors

Matched unrelated or matched sibling donors can lead to comparable transplant survival, according to a single-center research study of 108 patients with AML (n=63) and MDS (n=45). In this study of reduced-intensity HCT, median age at transplant was 57 years (range, 20-68), and donors and patients were matched at high resolution at 10/10 HLA loci. Unrelated donor recipients were more likely to receive anti-thymoglobulin (ATG) than sibling donor recipients: 68% vs. 44%, respectively (p=0.026). Donor age was significantly lower for recipients receiving cells from unrelated donors than those with sibling donors: 30 vs. 52 years, respectively (p<0.0001). After adjustment for age, cytogenetic risk, ATG, and number of CD34+ cells infused, donor type still did not influence three-year overall survival: Sibling donor 45%; unrelated donor 49%; (p=0.98).

Robin M, et al. Bone Marrow Transplant

Two reviews: Minimal residual disease in acute leukemia

In these two review articles on minimal residual disease (MRD) in patients with acute leukemia, the authors discuss the recent research showing that the likelihood of relapse after transplant is directly associated with levels of MRD before transplant. They propose that MRD be considered along with cytogenetics and molecular markers to identify patients unlikely to be cured by standard chemotherapy and who should therefore be referred for possible HCT. In addition, they note that MRD analysis can be used to determine the optimal timing of HCT, guide the selection of conditioning regimens, and select post-transplant strategies that maximize the graft-versus-leukemia effect.

Buckley SA, et al. Bone Marrow Transplant
Campana D, et al. Br J Haematol

Related: Prophylactic or MRD-triggered post-HCT imatinib

Conference News: BMT Tandem 2013

Select patients >70 years can undergo HCT

Read a special edition of Advances in Transplantation summarizing the latest research in hematopoietic cell transplantation presented at the 2013 BMT Tandem Meetings. Research highlights include:

* Select patients >70 years can successfully undergo HCT
* Using atorvastatin to treat GVHD
* Growing use of HCT to treat sickle cell disease
Read about these topics and more: BMT Tandem Meetings highlights (PDF)
Test Your Knowledge

What is the 3-year survival advantage for adults with AML transplanted in 1st CR vs. those transplanted in advanced disease?

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Other Noteworthy Articles
Chronic GVHD after cord blood HCT

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HCT in children with Hurler syndrome

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Late mortality after pediatric HCT

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HCT for mantle cell lymphoma

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Resources For You
New CME: AML/MDS in older patients

Earn up to 2.25 CME credits through an online activity on the latest approaches to the treatment of older patients with AML and MDS. Jointly sponsored by Medscape Education Oncology and the National Marrow Donor Program. Take CME

Resources For Your Patients
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Are you looking for ways to help your patients connect with others like them? Invite them to visit the Be The Match Patients Connect Facebook Page to connect with a community of more than 2,000 transplant patients, caregivers, and families. Visit now

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