• acute myeloid leukaemia;
  • allogeneic stem cell transplantation;
  • bone marrow;
  • peripheral blood stem cells;
  • unrelated donors

Abstract.  Ringdén O, Labopin M, Beelen DW, Volin L, Ehninger G, Finke J, Greinix HT, Kyrcz-Krzemien S, Bunjes D, Brinch L, Niederwieser D, Arnold R, Mohty M, Rocha V, for the Acute Leukaemia Working Party of the European Group for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT) (Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge, Sweden; CEREST-TC EBMT, Paris, France; University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany; Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland; University Hospital, Dresden, Germany; University Hospital, Freiburg, Germany; Medical University Vienna, Vienna, Austria; Medical University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland; University Hospital, Ulm, Germany; Rikshospitalet, Oslo, Norway; University Hospital, Leipzig, Germany; Charité University Hospital, Berlin, Germany; Université de Nantes, Nantes, France; and Hôpital Saint-Louis, Paris, France). Bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cell transplantation from unrelated donors in adult patients with acute myeloid leukaemia, an Acute Leukaemia Working Party analysis in 2262 patients. J Intern Med 2012; 272: 472–483.

Background.  No survival benefit of using blood stem cells instead of bone marrow (BM) has been shown in matched unrelated donor (MUD) transplantation.

Design and methods.  In a retrospective registry analysis, we compared the use of blood stem cells (= 1502) and BM (= 760) from unrelated donors in patients aged 18–60 years with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) undergoing myeloablative conditioning between 1997 and 2008. The blood stem cell recipients were older (< 0.01), had more advanced disease (< 0.0001) and received less total body irradiation (< 0.0001) and more antithymocyte globulin (= 0.01).

Results.  Recovery of neutrophils and platelets was faster with blood stem cells (< 0.0001). The incidence of acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) was similar, but there was more chronic GVHD in the blood stem cell group [hazard ratio (HR) = 1.29, = 0.02]. There were no significant differences in nonrelapse mortality (NRM), relapse incidence and leukaemia-free survival (LFS) between the two groups amongst patients with AML in remission. In patients with advanced leukaemia, NRM was lower (HR = 0.61, = 0.02) and LFS was prolonged (HR = 0.67, = 0.002) when blood stem cells were used. At 3 years, LFS for all patients, regardless of remission status, was 41% for both treatment groups. The outcome was not affected after multivariable analysis adjusted for confounders.

Conclusion.  Blood stem cells compared with BM in MUD transplantation for patients with AML in remission resulted in the same rates of LFS. In patients with advanced leukaemia, the blood stem cell group had reduced NRM and improved LFS.