Bone marrow transplantation for sickle cell disease. The United States experience.

Journal Article


As of June 1992, five patients with sickle cell disease had been treated by matched sibling bone marrow transplantation in the United States.

Patients and methods

Three patients underwent transplantations for complications related to sickle cell disease, two with previous cerebrovascular accidents (CVAs) and one who had had multiple severe vasoocclusive crises. Two patients had other indications for allogeneic bone marrow transplantation: one had acute myeloid leukemia and the other had Morquio's disease. The patients' ages ranged from 3 to 10 years, and four were girls. Ages of the donors ranged from 4 to 13 years; four of the donors were boys and three carried the sickle cell trait. For four patients, the preparative regimen consisted of busulfan and cyclophosphamide given either alone or combined with antithymocyte globulin (ATG). The patient with leukemia was prepared with cyclophosphamide and total body irradiation (TBI). The regimens for prophylaxis of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) included various combinations of cyclosporine A, methotrexate, and prednisone.


The patient with Morquio's disease failed to engraft but underwent a successful retransplantation from the same donor. All patients eventually demonstrated donor engraftment and the donor's hemoglobin electrophoretic pattern posttransplant. Two patients had moderately severe GVHD of the skin and gastrointestinal tract, which resolved with prednisone therapy. One of these patients developed transient chronic GVHD involving the skin. Other acute complications included mild venoocclusive disease of the liver, central line infection with bacteremias, uterine hemorrhage in one patient, and pseudomonas sepsis in another.


Both patients who underwent transplantation after CVAs have experienced subsequent neurological events. However, with a median follow-up of 16 months (range 8 months to 9.3 years), all patients are surviving in good to excellent clinical condition and appear to have benefitted from treatment by bone marrow transplantation.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Johnson, FL; Mentzer, WC; Kalinyak, KA; Sullivan, KM; Abboud, MR

Published Date

  • February 1994

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 16 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 22 - 26

PubMed ID

  • 8311168

Pubmed Central ID

  • 8311168

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0192-8562


  • eng