Improved techniques and supportive care have resulted in a growing number of long-term survivors of stem cell transplants, though little is known about the impact transplants have on patients’ lives long after treatment.
This is the first study I have seen which attempted to find out long term effects of stem cell transplants. So far so good.
To find the answers, researchers from the City of Hope Cancer Center and the University of Minnesota assessed 854 cancer patients that had undergone stem cell transplants, taking a detailed look at the aftereffects of the procedure in the years following the transplant.
All study patients had survived at least two years post-transplant, with more than 70 percent surviving through the study’s completion. The majority of study deaths occurred within five years of the transplant, but for those who survived past the fifth anniversary of their transplant, the risk of death lessened each year thereafter.
Further analysis highlighted the most likely causes for death in those patients that did not survive and hinted at ways that such deaths might be minimized.
“The results of this study will have a great impact on predicting long-term outcomes for the thousands of patients who receive stem cell transplants every year,” said Smita Bhatia, M.D., M.P.H., a staff physician at the City of Hope Cancer Center and lead author of the study. “This sets the stage for the study of interventions that could decrease patient deaths years after treatment. For those most at risk, perhaps better therapeutic options are needed.”