Immunohematopoietic stem cell transplantation in Cape Town: A ten-year outcome analysis in adults
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Immunohematopoietic stem cell transplantation has curative potential in selected hematologic disorders. Stem cell transplantation was introduced into South Africa in 1970 as a structured experimental and clinical program. In this report, we summarize the demography and outcome by disease category, gender, and type of procedure in patients older than 18 years of age who were seen from April 1995 to December 2002. PATIENTS AND METHODS: This retrospective analysis included 247 individuals over 18 years of age for whom complete data were available. These patients received grafts mostly from peripheral blood with the appropriate stem cell population recovered by apheresis. RESULTS: Patient ages ranged from 20 to 65 years with a median age of 42 years. There were 101 females and 146 males. There were no withdrawals and 63% survived to the end of the study. At 96 months of follow-up, a stable plateau was reached for each disease category. Median survival was 3.3 years (n=6, 14.6%) for acute lymphoblastic anemia, 3.1 years (n=44, 18%) for acute myeloid leukemia, 2.8 years (n=47, 19%) for chronic granulocytic leukemia, 2.8 years (n=71, 29%) for lymphoma, 1.5 years (n=23, 9%) for myeloma, 1.43 years (n=10, 4%) for aplasia, and 1.4 years (n=38, 15%) for a miscellaneous group comprising less than 10 examples each. Multivariate analysis showed that only diagnosis and age had a significant impact on survival, but these two variables might be interrelated. There was no significant difference in outcome by source of graft. CONCLUSION: The results confirm that procedures carried out in a properly constituted and dedicated unit, which meets established criteria and strictly observes treatment protocols, generate results comparable to those in a First World referral center. Low rates of transplant-related mortality, rejection and graft-versus-host disease are confirmed, but the benefits cannot be extrapolated outside of academically oriented and supervised facilities.