Objective: To define the basic state-of-the-art medical care of the patients after bone marrow transplantation as practiced by the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group.
Data Identification: Studies examining the role of bone marrow transplantation in the care of neoplastic disorders identified using computer and bibliographic searches.
Study Selection: More than 500 articles, book chapters, and abstracts from meetings, covering all therapeutic and diagnostic aspects of the patient having bone marrow transplantation were critically reviewed; information from over 200 publications is included.
Results of Data Analysis: Enormous progress has been made in understanding the biology, therapy, and prophylaxis strategies of bone marrow transplantation and in extending the range of potential marrow donors to include unrelated persons. Dramatic advances have occurred in the prevention of serious infection, including cytomegalovirus infection, formerly a cause of a high rate of mortality. The advent of newer-combination, high-dose chemotherapy regimens and advances in cryopreservation and in vitro marrow purging techniques have led to increased use and greater efficacy of autologous transplantation. Recent advances using recombinant hematopoietic growth factors and autologous peripheral stem cells are likely to reduce morbidity and mortality and significantly shorten the length of hospitalization and the cost of bone marrow transplantation.
Conclusions: Bone marrow transplantation now is a common procedure done throughout the world. Cooperative groups have assumed a major role in conducting clinical trials. A standardized approach defining basic standards of care will assure uniformity of management, better interpretation of data, and continued progress in the care of the patient who has had a bone marrow transplantation. Basic research and clinical trials are ongoing to define better methods for the treatment and prevention of graft-versus-host disease and hepatic veno-occlusive disease.