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Allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation in myelodysplastic syndromes

Bart-Smith, Emily; Mufti, Ghulam J.

doi: 10.1097/CCO.0000000000000137
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Purpose of review Allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation remains the only curative treatment for myelodysplastic syndrome. We highlight the various issues to consider in the pretransplant, transplant and posttransplant periods with emphasis on the management of relapse following transplant.

Recent findings Cytogenetic and molecular characteristics are becoming more important in predicting transplant outcome. Hypomethylating agents are effective in the pretransplant setting to reduce disease burden. Haploidentical and umbilical cord blood donations may be valid transplant options for patients without human leukocyte antigen-identical sibling or match unrelated donor options. A preemptive management approach to patients at high risk of relapse is more effective. Adjusting the timing and dose of donor lymphocyte infusion reduces the risk of graft-versus-host disease without jeopardizing the graft-versus-leukaemia effect of donor lymphocyte infusion.

Summary Allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation is curative in up to 40% of myelodysplastic syndrome patients. Appropriate patient selection, modification of conditioning regimes and donor selection should be considered carefully. A preemptive approach for the management of patients at high risk of relapse should be employed following transplant, with the use of immune modulating therapies such as donor lymphocyte infusion and azacitidine.

Department of Haematology, King's College Hospital, Denmark Hill, London, UK

Correspondence to Dr Emily Bart-Smith, MD, Department of Haematology, King's College Hospital, Denmark Hill, London, SW6 9RS, UK. Tel: +44 020 3299 9000 x33080; fax: +44 020 3299 4980; e-mail:

© 2014 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.