Hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) provides curative therapy for a variety of diseases. Over the past several decades, significant advances have been made in the field of HCT, to the point where HCT has become an integral part of treatment modality for a variety of hematologic malignancies and some nonmalignant diseases. HCT remains an important treatment option for a wide variety of hematologic and nonhematologic disorders, despite recent advances in the field of immunologic therapies. Factors driving this growth include expanded disease indications, greater donor options (expanding unrelated donor registries and haploidentical HCT), and accommodation of older and less fit recipients.
The development of less toxic pretransplant conditioning regimens, more effective prophylaxis of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), improved infection control, and other advances in transplant technology have resulted in a rapidly growing number of transplant recipients surviving long-term free of the disease for which they were transplanted. The changes over decades in the transplant recipient population and in the practice of HCT will have almost inevitably altered the composition of the long-term survivor population over time. Apart from an increasingly older transplant recipient cohort, the pattern of transplant indications has shifted from the 1990s when chronic myeloid leukemia made up a significant proportion of allo-HCT indications. Changes in cell source, donor types, conditioning regimens, GVHD prophylaxis, and supportive care have all occurred, with ongoing reductions in both relapse and non-relapse mortality (NRM) have been demonstrated.
These patients have increased risks for a variety of late complications, which can cause morbidity and mortality. Most long-term survivors return to the care of their local hematologists/oncologists or primary care physicians, who may not be familiar with specialized monitoring and management of long complications after HCT for this patient population. As HCT survivorship increases, the focus of care has shifted to the identification and treatment of long-term complications that may affect quality of life and long-term morbidity and mortality.
Preventive care as well as early detection and treatments are important aspects to reducing morbidity and mortality in long-term survivors after allo-HCT. This second edition, Blood and Marrow Transplantation Long-Term Management: Survivorship after Transplant, provides up-to-date information about diagnosis, screening, treatment, and long-term surveillance of long-term survivors after HCT.
Bipin N. Savani is Professor of Medicine and Director of Long-Term Transplant and Survivorship Clinic at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA.
André Tichelli is Professor Emeritus of Hematology, Division of Hematology, University Hospital of Basel, Switzerland.