Reduced-intensity stem cell transplantation (RIST) has been shown to be a safe and useful alternative transplant method for patients including elderly and medically unfit patients. RIST conditioning regimens vary widely in the intensity of myeloablation, immunoablation, and antileukemia effects, and thus optimal regimen for each disease entity is yet to be determined. Most reports on RIST to date are small, single-institution experiences or retrospective studies with heterogeneous patient populations and primary diseases, complicating any direct comparison between studies. In acute myeloid leukemia (AML), moderate-intensity regimens may be effective, achieving 30-70% 1-year disease-free survival in various series, but minimal-intensity regimens are associated with high relapse rates. In acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), not even moderate-intensity regimens are effective and most patients with advanced ALL relapse post transplant. Thus, the risk/ benefit ratios of graft-versus-host disease/graft-versus-leukemia effect differ among diseases. Larger, prospective, multi-center clinical trials are needed to determine the best use of RIST in hematologic malignancies.
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