Myeloablative Versus Reduced-Intensity Conditioning With Fludarabine/Busulfan for Myelodysplastic Syndrome: A Propensity Score-Matched Analysis

Shuhei Kurosawa, Yoshimitsu Shimomura, Hidehiro Itonaga, Yuho Najima, Takeshi Kobayashi, Yukiyasu Ozawa, Yoshinobu Kanda, Shinichi Kako, Toshiro Kawakita, Ken ichi Matsuoka, Yumiko Maruyama, Shuichi Ota, Hideyuki Nakazawa, Kazunori Imada, Takafumi Kimura, Junya Kanda, Takahiro Fukuda, Yoshiko Atsuta, Ken Ishiyama

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There are limited data comparing myeloablative conditioning with fludarabine/busulfan (Flu/Bu4) and reduced-intensity conditioning with fludarabine/busulfan (Flu/Bu2) in patients with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) undergoing allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT). We retrospectively analyzed nationwide registry data and compared the outcomes of adult patients with MDS receiving Flu/Bu4 and Flu/Bu2 by propensity score (PS) matching. Patients who met the following criteria were eligible for enrollment: (1) age ≥16 years; (2) diagnosis of de novo MDS; (3) first allo-HSCT between 2006 and 2018; (4) related bone marrow transplantation (BMT) or peripheral blood stem cell transplantation from an HLA-matched donor, unrelated BMT from an HLA-matched or HLA-1 allele–mismatched donor, or unrelated cord blood transplantation; and (5) receiving Flu/Bu4 or Flu/Bu2 as a conditioning regimen. Flu/Bu4 comprised intravenous busulfan (total dose, 12.8 mg/kg) combined with fludarabine (total dose, 125–180 mg/m2). Flu/Bu2 comprised intravenous busulfan (total dose, 6.4 mg/kg) combined with the same dose of fludarabine. To minimize selection bias and confounding factors, we performed a propensity score (PS)-matched analysis. The primary endpoint was overall survival (OS) after allo-HSCT. A total of 3386 patients with de novo MDS underwent their first allo-HSCT between 2006 and 2018. Among them, 202 patients were assigned each to the Flu/Bu4 and Flu/Bu2 groups after PS-matched analysis. The median age was 61 (interquartile, 57-65) years. The 3-year OS rates were 44.8% (95% confidence interval [CI], 37.1–52.1%) and 46.9% (95% CI, 39.2–54.2%) in the Flu/Bu4 and Flu/Bu2 groups, respectively (P = .67). The 3-year rates of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD)–free survival, relapse-free survival (GRFS) were 28.8% (95% CI, 22.2–35.7%) and 33.0% (95% CI, 26.2–40.0%), respectively (P = .36). The 3-year cumulative incidence rates of relapse were 28.9% (95% CI, 22.6–35.6%) and 30.0% (95% CI, 23.6–36.6%), respectively (P = .47). The 3-year cumulative incidence rates of non-relapse mortality (NRM) were 28.2% (95% CI, 21.7–35.0%) and 27.1% (95% CI, 20.6–33.9%), respectively (P = .60). The 100-day cumulative incidence rate of grade II–IV acute GVHD was significantly higher in the Flu/Bu4 group than in the Flu/Bu2 group (41.7% [95% CI, 34.8%–48.4%] versus 29.3% [95% CI, 23.2%-35.7%], P = 0.012). To identify patients who had more favorable outcomes with 1 of the 2 regimens, we compared the outcomes between the 2 groups after stratifying by age, hematopoietic cell transplantation-comorbidity index, cytogenetic risk, disease status at allo-HSCT, stem cell source, and donor type. OS, GRFS, relapse, and NRM did not differ between the 2 groups in any subgroup analyses. There were no significant interactions between the choice of conditioning regimens and any other factors. There are no differences in survival between Flu/Bu4 and Flu/Bu2, although our study population was highly selected by PS matching. Data from more patients and prospective studies are needed to determine the optimal intensity of conditioning regimens in patients with MDS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323.e1-323.e9
JournalTransplantation and Cellular Therapy
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
  • Busulfan
  • Fludarabine
  • Myelodysplastic syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology
  • Transplantation


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