Adult patients with acute leukemia in need of a transplant but without a genoidentical donor are usually considered upfront for transplantation with stem cells from any other allogeneic source, rather than autologous stem cell transplantation. We used data from the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation and performed a matched pair analysis on 188 T-cell-replete haploidentical and 356 autologous transplants done from January 2007 to December 2012, using age, diagnosis, disease status, cytogenetics, and interval from diagnosis to transplant as matching factors. “Haploidentical expert” centers were defined as having reported more than five haploidentical transplants for acute leukemia (median value for the study period). The median follow-up was 28 months. Multivariate analyses, including type of transplant categorized into three classes (“haploidentical regular”, “haploidentical expert” and autologous), conditioning intensity (reduced intensity versus myeloablative conditioning) and the random effect taking into account associations related to matching, showed that non-relapse mortality was higher following haploidentical transplants in expert (HR: 4.7; P=0.00004) and regular (HR: 8.98; P-5) centers. Relapse incidence for haploidentical transplants was lower in expert centers (HR:0.39; P=0.0003) but in regular centers was similar to that for autologous transplants. Leukemia-free survival and overall survival rates were higher following autologous transplantation than haploidentical transplants in regular centers (HR: 1.63; P=0.008 and HR: 2.31; P=0.0002 respectively) but similar to those following haploidentical transplants in expert centers. We conclude that autologous stem cell transplantation should presently be considered as a possible alternative to haploidentical transplantation in regular centers that have not developed a specific expert program.
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