The outcome of severe aplastic anemia, refractory to immunosuppressive therapy or observed in case of Fanconi anemia (FA), is usually poor in the absence of Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT). Umbilical cord blood is an alternative stem cell source for patients without matched related or unrelated donors. However, single cord blood unit is associated with high transplant related mortality due to the low cell dose infused in previous highly transfused patients. We have driven the hypothesis that double cord blood transplantation (dCBT) could circumvent the cell dose problem. For the purpose of this study, we have studied 13 patients with bone marrow failure syndromes given 2 partially matched dCBT from 2004 to 2007. The diagnoses were FA (n=9), SAA (n=4) and PNH (n=1). Among those patients, 5 (39%) received a dCBT as a rescue of previous rejected transplants (2 SAA and 3 FA). All patients received a fludarabine-based regimen, with TBI (2 Gy) for 4 patients. Cord blood units were a 4/6 or 5/6 HLA A, B and DR match with the patient except one which was 3/6. Graft versus host disease (GVHD) prophylaxis consisted in CSA+MMF. Steroids were given from day 7 to day 14 and stopped in case of no GVHD. Five male (39%) and 8 female (61%) with a median age of 16 years (range 7–31) were treated. The cell doses infused were a median of 5.0 × 107 NC/Kg (4–9) and 5.3 × 105 CD34+ cells/Kg (2–8). Graft rejection was seen in 5 patients (2 previously allotransplanted). Among those patients, one displayed a temporary mixed chimerism before rejection and another presented an autologous reconstitution. Among the remaining 8 patients, the median time to an absolute neutrophils count > 500 was 25 days (range 14–42) and the median time to a platelet count > 20,000 was 39 days. In these last patients, we observed a complete donor chimerism with one cord blood unit during 100 days after dCBT. Acute GVHD grade II–III was scored in 9 patients (69%) (7 grade II, 2 grade III). No patients presented acute GVHD grade IV. Four patients out of 8 developed Chronic GVHD (3 limited and 1 extensive). Four patients died (1 GVHD, 2 fungal infection, 1 thrombotic microangiopathy). With a median follow-up of 13 months (range 1 to 19 months), the overall survival was 55% (±15%) for all patients. The median survival of patients who were transplanted twice was 50% (±25%). In conclusion, dCBT seems to be an option to treat patients with bone marrow failure syndromes and without a suitable compatible HLA donor. Those results need to be established on a large number of patients to warrant the inclusion of dCBT in the treatment strategy of diseases with high risk of rejection.

Author notes

Disclosure: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.