In order to compare the outcomes of unrelated umbilical cord blood transplants (UCBTs) or bone marrow transplants, 541 children with acute leukemia (AL) transplanted with umbilical cord blood (n = 99), T-cell-depleted unrelated bone marrow transplants (T-UBMT) (n = 180), or nonmanipulated (UBMT) (n = 262), were analyzed in a retrospective multicenter study. Comparisons were performed after adjustment for patient, disease, and transplant variables. The major difference between the 3 groups was the higher number in the UCBT group of HLA mismatches (defined by serology for class I and molecular typing for DRB1). The donor was HLA mismatched in 92% of UCBTs, in 18% of UBMTs, and in 43% of T-UBMTs (P <.001). Other significant differences were observed in pretransplant disease characteristics, preparative regimens, graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) prophylaxis, and number of cells infused. Nonadjusted estimates of 2-year survival and event-free survival rates were 49% and 43%, respectively, in the UBMT group, 41% and 37% in the T-UBMT group, and 35% and 31% in the UCBT group. After adjustment, differences in outcomes appeared in the first 100 days after the transplantation. Compared with UBMT recipients, UCBT recipients had delayed hematopoietic recovery (Hazard ratio [HR] = 0.37; 95% confidence interval [95CI]: 0.27-0.52; P <.001), increased 100 day transplant-related mortality (HR = 2.13; 95CI: 1.20-3.76; P <.01) and decreased acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD) (HR = 0.50; 95CI: 0.34-0.73; P <.001). T-UBMT recipients had decreased aGVHD (HR = 0.25; 95CI: 0.170.36; P <.0001) and increased risk of relapse (HR = 1.96; 95CI: 1.11-3.45; P = .02). After day 100 posttransplant, the 3 groups achieved similar results in terms of relapse. Chronic GVHD was decreased after T-UBMT (HR = 0.21; 95CI: 0.11-0.37; P <.0001) and UCBT (HR = 0.24; 95CI: 0.01-0.66; P = .002), and overall mortality was higher in T-UBMT recipients (HR = 1.39; 95CI: 0.97-1.99; P <.07). In conclusion, the use of UCBT, as a source of hematopoietic stem cells, is a reasonable option for children with AL lacking an acceptably matched unrelated marrow donor.
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