Infectious complications following nonmyeloablative allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation

Alessandro Busca, F. Locatelli, A. Barbui, V. Ghisetti, D. Cirillo, R. Serra, E. Audisio, M. Falda

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Nonmyeloablative hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (NST) has been explored in hematological malignancies and solid tumors in an attempt to minimize treatment-related toxicity. Whether this approach is associated with reduced risk of infectious complications is unclear. The aim of the current study was to evaluate the infectious complications in a series of 32 consecutive adult patients who received NSTat our institution. Peripheral blood stem cell grafts (n = 30) or marrow grafts (n = 2) were infused from human leukocyte antibody (HLA)·matched sibling (n = 30), partially matched related (n = 1), or unrelated (n = 1) donors. Neutropenia developed in two-thirds of patients and lasted 16 days. Acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) grade II to IV was observed in 25% of patients, whereas 35% of patients had signs of extensive chronic GVHD. Twenty-two patients (69%) had at least one significant infectious episode. Bacteremia occurred in 19% of patients (n = 5 gram-positive, n = 1 gram-negative microorganisms). Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection was observed in 10 out of 28 (36%) evaluable patients; 4 of these had recurrent or persistent CMVantigenemia requiring a second-line treatment, but eventually the viremia cleared. No patients experienced CMV disease. Fungal infections were documented in five (16%) patients, comprising invasive fungal infections in two cases and mucosal fungal infections in three. Four patients died of transplant-related causes, and three of these died before day + 100. Infection was considered the primary cause of death in one patient (pulmonary aspergillosis) and contributed to death in another two. The actuarial probability of nonrelapse mortality at 100 days was 10% (95% confidence interval, 3-26%). Our preliminary results suggest that NST is associated to a low incidence of bacteremia or fungal and viral infections. Whether these findings would translate into an improved overall survival needs to be confirmed in larger prospective studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-139
Number of pages8
JournalTransplant Infectious Disease
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2003


  • Bacteremia
  • Fungal infections
  • Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
  • Infectious complications
  • Viral infections

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Immunology


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