The use of less aggressive drug regimens during stem cell transplantation has meant that more people – including the more elderly – may be eligible for the procedure. A U.S. study has now reported that older people don’t have a higher risk of complications compared to younger people (Murthy and colleagues. ASCO 2016; abstract 7049).
Analysis of a U.S. database for the period 2006-2011 identified about 5,500 people who underwent stem cell transplants for hematological malignancies (including about 6% with CML). A total of 21% of these procedures were performed in people older than 60 years.
The average length of stay in hospital was similar in younger and older people (27 days versus 25 days). The rate of mortality in hospital was slightly higher in older people (7.9% vs. 7.4%). The rates of other complications, such as shock (about 3-4%), kidney failure (about 15%), respiratory failure (about 9%), and blood poisoning (about 20%) was remarkably similar in the two age groups.
The researchers concluded that older people appear to have similar rates of death and transplant-associated complications as younger people. This may be due to the less aggressive treatment regimens used in the elderly and better selection of appropriate candidates for transplantation.
For more on stem cell transplantation, see our recent 3-part series on CML-IQ:
- The Evolving Role of Transplantation in CML
- What is the Role of Stem-Cell Transplants in the TKI Era?
- Transplantation: the Graft vs. Leukemia Effect