Graft failure (GF) is the most critical life-threatening complication of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) for aplastic anemia, for which a second transplantation is the only effective treatment. Optimal procedures have not been established for the second transplantation in this setting, however. Here we retrospectively analyzed the outcomes of 22 patients with aplastic anemia, age ≥16 years, who underwent umbilical cord blood transplantation for GF after the first HSCT using the registry database of the Japan Society for Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation. The median age of patients was 36 years (range, 16 to 72 years), and the median time from the first to the second transplant was 77 days (range, 29 to 1061 days). The cumulative incidence of neutrophil engraftment at day 60 post-transplantation was 45.5% (95% confidence interval [CI], 23.6% to 65.0%). With a median follow-up of 50 months, the 4-year overall survival (OS) was 38.5% (95% CI, 18.4% to 58.5%). Mycofenolate mofetil–based graft-versus-host disease prophylaxis demonstrated greater neutrophil recovery than prophylaxis with calcineurin inhibitor alone or methotrexate-based prophylaxis (66.7% versus 37.5%; P =.04). The use of such conditioning regimens as fludarabine + melphalan or cyclophosphamide + low-dose total body irradiation was associated with better engraftment (58.3% versus 30%; P =.05) and better 4-year OS (55.6% versus 20%; P =.05) than other regimens. Although further investigation is needed, umbilical cord blood could be an effective and promising option for stem cell source for urgent second transplantation in patients with aplastic anemia who develop GF after the first HSCT.
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