Infections following Transplantation of Bone Marrow or Peripheral-Blood Stem Cells from Unrelated Donors.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Biology of blood and marrow transplantation : journal of the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (2015)


Infection is a major complication of hematopoietic cell transplantation. Prolonged neutropenia and graft versus host disease are the two major complications with an associated risk for infection, and these complications differ according to the graft source. A phase 3, multicenter, randomized trial (BMT CTN 0201) of transplantation of bone marrow (BM) versus peripheral-blood stem cells (PBSC) from unrelated donors (URD) showed no significant differences in two-year survival between these graft sources. In an effort to provide data regarding whether bone marrow or peripheral-blood stem cells could be used as a preferential graft source for transplantation, we report a detailed analysis of the infectious complications for 2 years following transplantation from the BMT CTN 0201 trial. A total of 499 patients in this study had full audits of infection data. A total of 1347 infection episodes of moderate or greater severity were documented in 384 (77%) patients; 201/249 (81%) of the evaluable patients had received a BM graft and 183/250 (73%) had received a PBSC graft. Of 1347 infection episodes, 373 were severe and 123 were life-threatening and/or fatal; 710 (53%) of these episodes occurred on the BM arm and 637 (47%) on the PBSC arm, resulting in a two-year cumulative incidence 84.7% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 79.6-89.8) for BM vs. 79.7% (95%CI, 73.9-85.5) for PBSC, P = .013. The majority of these episodes, 810 (60%), were due to bacteria, with a two-year cumulative incidence of 72.1% and 62.9% in BM versus PBSC recipients, respectively (P = .003). The cumulative incidence of bloodstream bacterial infections during the first 100 days was 44.8% (95%CI, 38.5-51.1) for BM vs. 35.0% (95%CI, 28.9-41.1) for PBSC (P = .027). The total infection density (# infection events / 100 patient days at risk) was .67 for BM and .60 for PBSC. The overall infection density for bacterial infections was .4 in both arms; for viral infections was .2 in both arms; and for fungal/parasitic infections was .04 and .05 for BM and PBSC, respectively. The cumulative incidence of infection prior to engraftment was 47.9% (95%CI, 41.5-53.9) for BM vs. 32.8% (95%CI, 27.1-38.7) for PBSC (P = .002), possibly related to quicker neutrophil engraftment using PBSC. Infections remain frequent following URD HCT, particularly following BM grafts.