Early trials of allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT) for homozygous β-thalassemia and the analyses of results of transplantation in patients less than 16 years old have allowed us to identify three classes of risk based on the following criteria: () hepatomegaly, () presence of liver fibrosis at histological examination, and () quality of chelation treatment given before transplant. Patients with none of these adverse criteria were assigned to Class 1; patients with either one or two adverse criteria comprised Class 2; and patients for whom all three criteria were adverse constituted Class 3. Most patients older than 16 years have disease characteristics that place them in Class 3, with very few falling into Class 2. All patients with a histocompatibility leukocyte antigen (HLA)—identical donor are actually assigned to one of two conditioning regimens on the basis of the class they belong to at the time of BMT and independently of age. For Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3 patients, the probabilities of survival and event-free survival are 95 and 90%, 86 and 82%, and 87 and 63%, respectively. For those patients older than 16 years at the time of transplant, the probabilities of survival and of event-free survival are 78 and 74%, respectively. Allogeneic BMT is currently the only rational therapeutic modality for the eradication of β-thalassemia.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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