Reduced-intensity conditioning is widely used with hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for non-malignant diseases: however, the optimal conditioning to ensure stable engraftment has not been established. In this study, we retrospectively compared the impact of low-dose (1–6 Gy) irradiation and in vivo T-cell depletion on the clinical outcome of 523 patients with non-malignant disease who underwent a first allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation using fludarabine-based reduced-intensity conditioning. Use of low-dose irradiation, but not of anti-thymocyte globulin/anti-lymphocyte globulin, showed a beneficial effect on overall survival (adjusted hazard ratio: 0.56; 95% confidence interval: 0.35–0.91, P = 0.018). Furthermore, use of low-dose irradiation was strongly associated with lower transplant-related mortality (adjusted hazard ratio: 0.55; 95% confidence interval: 0.32–0.96, P = 0.034). The addition of low-dose irradiation to the conditioning regimen was beneficial, at least to the short-term clinical outcome. A large prospective study with long-term follow-up is now required to extend these findings and establish the optimal hematopoietic stem cell transplant conditioning for patients with at least some subgroups of non-malignant diseases.
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