In a nutshell
This study reviewed the evidence for stem cell transplantation (SCT) in patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Researchers found that SCT is an effective treatment option in patients with high risk of ALL coming back. Matched donors or siblings are the preferred stem cell donors.
ALL is a cancer of the bone marrow. This may lead to abnormal immune system cells. It is often treated with chemotherapy to delete the abnormal cells. These are then replaced with normal cells from a donor. Sometimes, signs of ALL may return after treatment. It is important to research the safety and effectiveness of SCT in patients with ALL.
Methods & findings
Available studies and evidence for SCT in the treatment of ALL were reviewed.
Three studies in France demonstrated more effectiveness for SCT from matched donors compared to the patient’s own cells. Another study showed that patients who had matched donor cells achieved no signs of cancer after treatment. High-risk patients also had increased survival (46%) compared to those without a donor (31%). Two studies compared stem cell treatment with chemotherapy and found no difference between the treatment outcomes.
A large study of 1646 patients with ALL, received either SCT or chemotherapy. Patients who received a donor transplant had a greater overall survival (53%) compared to patients without a donor, who had chemotherapy only (45%). Preferred donors include genetically similar siblings or matched unrelated donors.
The bottom line
This study concluded that donor SCT was safer and more effective than other treatments in patients with high-risk ALL.
The fine print
This review is limited by a small number of studies available.
Published By :
Bone Marrow Transplantation
Nov 01, 2018