J Korean Med Sci.  2020 Feb;35(7):e46. 10.3346/jkms.2020.35.e46.

Better Failure-Free Survival and Graft-versus-Host Disease-Free/Failure Free Survival with Fludarabine-Based Conditioning in Stem Cell Transplantation for Aplastic Anemia in Children

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Chonnam National University Hwasun Hospital, Chonnam National University Medical School, Hwasun, Korea. hoonkook@chonnam.ac.kr
  • 2Environmental Health Center for Childhood Leukemia and Cancer, Chonnam National University Hwasun Hospital, Hwasun, Korea.


This study aimed to assess the outcome of stem cell transplantation (SCT), including overall survival (OS), failure-free survival (FFS) and graft-versus-host disease (GvHD)-free/failure-free survival (GFFS), and to analyze prognostic factors in children with aplastic anemia (AA).
From 1991 to 2018, 43 allogeneic SCT recipients were enrolled in the study to investigate the demographic characteristics, survival outcomes and prognostic factors.
With the median follow-up of 7.1 years, the estimated 10-year OS, FFS, GFFS were 86.0%, 60.5%, and 51.2%, respectively. Matched related donors (MRD, n = 28) showed better 10-year OS than unrelated donors (n = 15) (96.4% vs. 66.7%; P = 0.006). Engraftment failure was seen in 13 patients (30.2%). Donor-type aplasia was seen in 13.8% (4/29) after fludarabine (Flu)-based conditioning (Flu-group), while in 42.6% (6/14) after cyclophosphamide (Cy)-based regimen (Cy-group) (P = 0.035). Six patients died. The 10-year OS in Cy-group was 92.9% (n = 14, all MRD), while that of Flu-group was 82.1% (n = 29; P = 0.367). But Flu-group tended to have better FFS and GFFS than Cy-group, although Flu-group had less MRDs (41.4% vs. 100%; P = 0.019), and higher proportion of previous immunosuppressive treatment (IST; 62% vs. 21.4%, P = 0.012). In MRD transplants, OS was similar between Flu-group (100%, n = 14) and Cy-group (92.9%, n = 14), while FFS (100.0% vs. 42.9%; P = 0.001) and GFFS (85.7% vs. 35.7%; P = 0.006) were significantly better in Flu-group. Stem cell sources, irradiation in the conditioning, and method of GvHD prophylaxis did not significantly influence the outcome.
This study reviewed SCT outcomes for pediatric AA with changes of transplant strategies over the last 25 years. The FFS and GFFS were higher in Flu-group than in Cy-group, especially in matched related transplantation. Graft failure including donor-type aplasia remains troublesome even with Flu-based conditioning. Further refinement of transplant strategies to ensure better quality-of-life should be pursued.


Aplastic Anemia; Children; Fludarabine; Survival; Engraftment Failure; Donor-Type Aplasia

MeSH Terms

Anemia, Aplastic*
Follow-Up Studies
Graft vs Host Disease
Stem Cell Transplantation*
Stem Cells*
Tissue Donors
Unrelated Donors
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