Serious infections after unrelated donor transplantation in 136 children: Impact of stem cell source

Juliet N. Barker, Rachael E. Hough, Jo Anne H van Burik, Todd E. DeFor, Margaret L. MacMillan, Michele R. O'Brien, John E. Wagner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


How the infection risks compare after umbilical cord blood (UCB) and bone marrow (BM) transplantation is not known. Therefore, we compared serious infections in the 2 years after pediatric myeloablative unrelated donor transplantation with unmanipulated BM (n = 52), T cell-depleted (TCD) BM (n = 24), or UCB (n = 60) for the treatment of hematologic malignancy. Overall, the cumulative incidence of 1 or more serious infections was comparable between groups (BM, 81%; TCD, 83%; UCB, 90%; P = .12). Furthermore, by taking all serious infections into account and using multivariate techniques with unmanipulated BM as the reference, there were also no significant differences between groups (TCD relative risk [RR], 1.6; P = .10; UCB RR, 1.0; P = .84). Within the time periods days 0 to 42, days 43 to 100, and days 101 to 180, the only difference was a greater risk of viral infections from days 0 to 42 in TCD recipients (RR, 3.5; P = .02). Notably, after day 180, TCD recipients had a significantly increased infection risk (RR, 3.1; P = .03), whereas the risk in UCB recipients (RR, 0.5; P = .23) was comparable to that in BM recipients. Other factors associated with an increased infection risk in the 2 years after transplantation were age ≥8 years, graft failure, and severe acute graft-versus-host disease. These data suggest that the risk of serious infection after pediatric UCB transplantation is comparable to that with unmanipulated BM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)362-370
Number of pages9
JournalBiology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by grants from the National Cancer Institute (grant no. PO1-CA65493; J.E.W.), the National Institutes of Health (grant nos. NO1-HB-47095 [J.E.W.] and NO1-HB-67139 [J.E.W.]), the Children’s Cancer Research Fund (J.E.W. and J.N.B.), and the UK Cord Blood Charity (R.E.H.).


  • Infection risk
  • Stem cell source
  • Unrelated donor transplantation

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