Improving Outcomes for Bone Marrow Transplant Recipients

Bone marrow transplant is a common treatment option for many patients with hematologic malignancies, but these transplants have historically been associated with significant morbidity and mortality. However, a retrospective analysis published in the Annals of Internal Medicine shows that outcomes for patients who receive bone marrow transplants have improved substantially in recent decades. The analysis compared outcomes in 1148 patients who received an allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplant (AHCT) from 2003 and 2007 with those in 1131 patients who received a transplant between 2013 and 2017.

Compared to patients receiving transplants between 2003 and 2007, transplant recipients in recent years have significant improvements in rates of death within 200 days of transplant (day-200 non-relapse mortality (NRM)), as well as other outcomes measures. There was a 34% reduction in day-200 NRM in the 2013-2017 cohort compared to 2003-2007 (P = .008), as well as a 24% reduction in relapse rates from cancer (P = .011), a 31% reduction in relapse-related mortality (P = .002), and a 34% reduction in overall mortality (P<.001). Patients in the 2013-2017 cohort also suffered from fewer transplant-related complications, including jaundice, renal insufficiency, mechanical ventilation, cytomegalovirus, infections, and graft-versus-host disease.

The investigators concluded that complications and deaths due to bone marrow transplant have significantly dropped in the past decade, likely due to the many improvements in treatment practices. The predict that relapse and mortality rates will continue to decrease with additional improvements to transplant techniques and patient care practices.

Read more about this study on Medscape Medical News.

Ann Intern Med. 2020 January 21. [Epub ahead of print.]

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