Reversible abnormalities in liver function, a side effect of the intensive treatment, were experienced in a majority of the Patients. One patient, the oldest in the study, developed cardiomyopathy (a weakening of the heart) and kidney failure due to treatment toxicities and died a few weeks after the transplant. Opportunistic infections, such as herpes zoster and cytomegalovirus infection, also occurred in a few Patients after the transplant, but were managed with appropriate therapy.
Throughout the study, all Patients were to receive highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) to help reduce these opportunistic infections and improve immunodeficiency, however, only nine Patients were able to tolerate this treatment for the entire study due to side effects such as nausea and inflammation of the mouth lining. The majority of Patients, though, did resume the HAART therapy soon after discharge from the hospital.
Although two Patients died of relapsed lymphoma a few months after transplant, 17 of the 20 Patients (85 percent) are currently alive and in remission. In addition, the underlying HIV infection did not worsen as a result of the transplant and associated treatments.
"The results of this study are significant because, despite the use of effective antiviral drugs such as HAART, lymphoma is still a major cause of suffering and death in HIV-infected individuals. It's important to know that stem cell transplant is an available and highly successful treatment option
Contact: Laura Stark
American Society of Hematology