New transplant approaches are urgently needed for patients with refractory severe aplastic anemia (SAA) who lack a matched sibling or unrelated donor (UD) or who have failed UD or cord blood transplant. Patients with refractory SAA are at risk of later clonal evolution to myelodysplastic syndrome and acute leukemia. We report our pilot findings with haploidentical hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (haploHSCT) using uniform reduced-intensity conditioning with postgraft high-dose cyclophosphamide in 8 patients with refractory SAA or patients who rejected a prior UD or cord blood transplant. Six of 8 patients engrafted. Graft failure was associated with donor-directed HLA antibodies, despite intensive pre-HSCT desensitization with plasma exchange and rituximab. There was only 1 case of grade II skin graft-versus-host disease. We show that haploHSCT can successfully rescue refractory SAA patients who lack donor-directed HLA antibodies but not in the presence of donor-directed HLA antibodies. This novel protocol for haploHSCT for SAA has been adopted by the European Group for Blood and Marrow Transplantation Severe Aplastic Anaemia Working Party for a future noninterventional, observational study to further evaluate its efficacy.
- aplastic anemia