Infantile osteopetrosis is a lethal disorder resulting from a severe defect in the ability of osteoclasts to resorb bone. The only therapy shown to be capable of providing lasting benefit is allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HCT). We report the outcome of 10 patients with infantile malignant osteopetrosis treated with HCT from an HLA A, B, DRB1 matched (n = 6) or A or B locus mismatched (n = 4) family member or unrelated donor at the University of Minnesota between 1978 and 1997. Eight of 10 patients achieved primary engraftment; secondary graft failure was seen in two patients. Five of 10 patients survive; three with full or partial donor chimerism and two with autologous hematological recovery. Transient or partial donor chimerism can be sufficient to correct the hematological manifestations of osteopetrosis. We recommend early referral for consideration of HCT with a related or unrelated donor as neurosensory manifestations of osteopetrosis are generally not reversible. Donor engraftment may be easier to achieve early in the course of the disease.
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This work was supported in part by grants from the Children’s Cancer Research Fund and the Bone Marrow Transplant Research Fund.