Reduced-Toxicity (BuFlu) Conditioning Is Better Tolerated but Has a Higher Second Transplantation Rate Compared to Myeloablative Conditioning (BuCy) in Children with Inherited Metabolic Disorders

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Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HCT) is a primary treatment for various inherited metabolic disorders (IMDs). Achieving stable and sustained engraftment while minimizing transplantation-related morbidity and mortality is critical to optimizing outcomes for IMDs. Traditional regimens have used myeloablative approaches, primarily busulfan and cyclophosphamide (BuCy), which is associated with significant regimen-related toxicity. Alternatively, reduced-toxicity regimens, such as busulfan and fludarabine (BuFlu), have been proposed to offer similar efficacy with reduced toxicities. We compared transplantation-related outcomes with BuCy-based and BuFlu-based conditioning in patients with IMDs. We retrospectively analyzed the University of Minnesota's transplantation database for patients with IMDs who underwent HCT using a BuCy (with alemtuzumab) or BuFlu (with antithymocyte globulin) preparative regimen between March 2008 and September 2017. Overall survival (OS), event-free survival (EFS), and incidence of neutrophil and platelet recovery were determined using standard definitions. Complications such as graft failure, sinusoidal obstruction syndrome, hemorrhagic cystitis, and respiratory failure were compared. Graft failure includes primary and secondary aplastic graft failure with and without autologous recovery. The incidence of viral infections post-transplantation in the 2 regimens was also determined. A total of 99 patients underwent HCT for IMDs during the study period. Sixty-four patients received BuCy conditioning, and the other 35 received BuFlu. Hurler syndrome (46%) and adrenoleukodystrophy (43%) were the most common IMDs, and umbilical cord blood was the most common graft source (74%). One-year OS was similar in the 2 groups (81.2% in BuCy versus 85.5% in BuFlu; P = .8), with an EFS of 75% versus 63%, respectively. The 2 groups also had similar incidences of grade III-IV acute GVHD (9% versus 6%; P = .5) and chronic GVHD (9% versus 7%; P = .67). Neutrophil and platelet recovery were similar in the 2 groups, with a significantly shorter duration of hospital stay noted in the BuFlu cohort (median, 21 days versus 34 days; P = .002). The cumulative incidence of graft failure was significantly higher in the BuFlu group (29% versus 14%; P = .08), as was the rate of second HCT (27% versus 3%; P = .001). The incidences of adenoviral infection (14% versus 0%; P = .02) and hemorrhagic cystitis (23% versus 3%; P = .01) were higher in the BuCy group. T cell engraftment occurred significantly sooner with BuCy conditioning until 1-year post-transplantation, but donor myeloid engraftment was similar in the 2 groups. Our data indicate that reduced-toxicity conditioning is associated with lower rates of infection and other transplantation-related complications but is concerning for a higher rate of graft failure in patients with IMDs. Alternate immunosuppressive agents and novel techniques should be considered to minimize toxicities and reduce complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)486-492
Number of pages7
JournalBiology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2020


  • Conditioning regimen
  • Graft failure
  • Inherited metabolic disorders

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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