Thrombotic microangiopathy after allogeneic stem cell transplantation in the era of reduced-intensity conditioning: The incidence is not reduced

Avichai Shimoni*, Moshe Yeshurun, Izhar Hardan, Abraham Avigdor, Isaac Ben-Bassat, Arnon Nagler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA) is one of the most severe complications of stem cell transplantation (SCT). Endothelial cell injury caused by the toxic effects of high-dose chemoradiotherapy is likely the primary event in pathogenesis. The incidence, clinical settings, and risk factors for TMA in the era of nonmyeloablative conditioning have not been well defined. The data on 147 consecutive SCTs in a single center were collected, and patients with TMA were identified. Patient characteristics, response to therapy, and outcome were recorded, and risk factors were determined. TMA occurred in 22 of 147 transplantations, with a projected incidence of 20% ± 4%. TMA occurred in 3 clinical settings: classic multifactorial TMA, TMA associated with severe hepatic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), and TMA associated with second SCT, with a projected incidence of 8% ± 3%, 73% ± 14%, and 70% ± 16% of patients at risk, respectively. TMA occurred after 23% ± 6% of nonmyeloablative and 16% ± 5% of myeloablative conditioning regimens (not significant). Univariate analysis determined SCT from unrelated donors, SCT during advanced or active disease, second SCT within 6 months of a prior SCT, and acute GVHD as risk factors for TMA. The last 2 factors remained significant in a multivariate model. Thirty-two percent of patients responded to therapy. The peri-TMA mortality rate was 68% ± 10%. Six patients had diffuse alveolar hemorrhage complicating TMA. SCT-associated TMA is a relatively common complication with unsatisfactory therapy and grim prognosis. Fludarabine-based nonmyeloablative conditioning does not confer a lesser risk for TMA. This observation may relate to the selective use of these regimens in elderly and heavily pretreated patients or to the lack of reduction of GVHD with these regimens, and fludarabine itself may be involved in causing endothelial damage. Further exploration of novel preventive and therapeutic measurements is required in high-risk settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)484-493
Number of pages10
JournalBiology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Nonmyeloablative
  • Stem cell transplantation
  • Thrombotic microangiopathy


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