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Transplant Type Found to Have No Effect on Leukemia Survival

10-year survival rates similar after transplants with peripheral blood stem cells or bone marrow

MONDAY, Feb. 1 (HealthDay News) -- In leukemia patients, long-term survival rates are similar in those who were transplanted with either peripheral blood stem cells or bone marrow, according to a study published online Feb. 1 in The Lancet Oncology.

Birte Friedrichs, M.D., of Asklepios Hospital St. Georg in Hamburg, Germany, and colleagues randomly assigned 329 patients to receive either peripheral blood stem cells or bone marrow transplants from matched siblings between 1995 and 1999.

The researchers found that 10-year survival was similar in the peripheral blood stem cells and bone marrow groups (49.1 and 56.5 percent, respectively), even though the peripheral blood stem cells group was more likely to develop chronic graft-versus-host disease (73 versus 56 percent) and require immunosuppressive treatment five years after transplantation (26 versus 12 percent). In a subgroup analysis, they found that bone marrow transplantation was associated with a trend toward improved leukemia-free and overall survival in patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia or acute myeloid leukemia.

"Our observations support previous reports that different patient groups might still benefit from transplantation with bone marrow," the authors conclude. "These data alone do not currently support the return to bone-marrow transplantation for specific indications, but we believe that long-term data from other randomized trials should be collected."

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