Infectious complications are a major cause of morbidity and mortality after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT). We have evaluated the incidence of late infections (beyond day +50) in recipients of related (RD) and unrelated donor (URD) allogeneic BMT, factors associated with increased risks of infection, and the impact of the late infections on survival. Between 1989 and 1991, 249 patients received an RD (n = 151) or URD (n = 98) allogeneic BMT at the University of Minnesota and all late infections were investigated. Three hundred sixty-seven late infectious events developed in 162 patients between 50 days and 2 years after BMT. The incidence of any late infection was greater in URD versus RD recipients (84.7% v 68.2%, respectively; P = .009). In multivariate analysis, advanced graft- versus-host disease (GVHD) was significantly associated with late infections. The effect of GVHD was apparent only in RD recipients (relative risk [RR], 2.29; P = .003), whereas URD recipients, with or without GVHD, had more late infections compared with RD recipients without GVHD. Multivariate analysis showed that late posttransplantation infections were the dominant independent factor associated with increased nonrelapse mortality (RR, 5.5; P = .0001), resulting in improved 3-year survival for RD versus URD recipients (49.9% +/- 8% v 34.4% +/- 10%; P = .004). In this study, we observed that late infections are more frequent in URD recipients, resulting in substantially higher nonrelapse mortality. This prolonged period of increased infectious risk in URD recipients suggests the need for aggressive surveillance and therapy of late infections and perhaps prolonged antibiotic prophylaxis for all URD BMT recipients.

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