Disease relapse remains a major cause of treatment failure in patients receiving allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (alloHCT) for high-risk acute leukemias or myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). Comprehensive data on outcomes after post-transplant relapse are lacking, especially in pediatric patients. Our objective was to assess the impact of various transplant-, patient-, and disease-related variables on survival and outcomes in patients who relapse after alloHCT. We describe our institutional experience with 221 pediatric patients who experienced disease relapse after their first alloHCT for acute leukemias or MDS between 1990 and 2018. In a multivariable model, being in first complete remission at first alloHCT, longer duration of remission after alloHCT, experiencing GVHD and receiving a transplant in a more recent time period were significantly associated with a higher likelihood of receiving a second alloHCT after post-transplant relapse. Of these variables, only longer interval from alloHCT to relapse, receiving a second alloHCT or DLI, and receiving a transplant in a more recent time period were associated with improved overall survival. Our data support pursuing second alloHCT for patients who have experienced relapse after their first transplant, as that remains the only salvage modality with a reasonable chance of inducing long-term remission.
- myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS)