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1.  Central nervous system (CNS) involvement is a critical prognostic factor for hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis 
The Korean Journal of Hematology  2012;47(4):273-280.
Background
Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) is a rare multisystem disorder that frequently involves the central nervous system (CNS). We compared the clinical characteristics, treatment, and prognosis of patients with HLH according to the degree of CNS involvement.
Methods
The clinical manifestations, initial laboratory data, treatment, and outcomes for 50 patients diagnosed with HLH and treated at Asan Medical Center between January 1995 and August 2011 were retrospectively reviewed and analyzed. CNS involvement was defined as the presence of neurological symptoms or an elevated white blood cell (WBC) count in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).
Results
Among these 50 patients, 23 (46%) developed CNS disease. Among patients with CNS disease, 19 had neurological symptoms, including seizures, altered consciousness, facial palsy, dysarthria, and dysphagia. Four patients had elevated CSF WBC counts without neurological symptoms. Twelve patients had abnormal brain imaging results, including high signal intensity lesions on T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings, ventriculomegaly, hemorrhage, atrophy, and leptomeningeal enhancement. Patients with CNS disease had lower ferritin, aspartate aminotransferase (AST), and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels as well as reduced 5-year survival as compared to those without CNS disease.
Conclusion
CNS involvement is common among patients with HLH. Overall, patients with CNS disease achieve poorer outcomes than patients without CNS involvement. To improve outcomes, physicians must carefully monitor the neurological manifestations in patients with HLH and administer the appropriate course of intensified chemotherapy to patients with CNS disease.
doi:10.5045/kjh.2012.47.4.273
PMCID: PMC3538799  PMID: 23320006
Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis; Central nervous system involvement; Neurological manifestations; Cerebrospinal fluid; Outcome
2.  Factors influencing lymphocyte reconstitution after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in children 
Background
Immune reconstitution (IR) after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) reduces transplantation-related complications such as infection and improves HSCT outcomes.
Methods
We retrospectively analyzed IR of lymphocyte subpopulations in 38 pediatric patients for hematologic malignant diseases after allogeneic HSCT from April 2006 to July 2008. T-cell-, B-cell-, and natural killer (NK) cell-associated antigens were assayed in peripheral blood by flow cytometry analysis of 5 lymphocyte subsets, CD3+, CD3+/CD4+, CD4+/CD8+, CD16+/CD56+, and CD19+, before and 3 and 12 months after transplantation.
Results
Reconstitutions of CD16+/CD56+ and CD3+/CD8+ lymphocytes were achieved rapidly, whereas that of CD3+/CD19+ lymphocytes occurred later. Age was not related to reconstitution of any lymphocyte subset. Total body irradiation (TBI) and anti-thymocyte globulin (ATG) administration were related to delayed reconstitution of total lymphocytes and CD3+ lymphocytes, respectively. Reconstitutions of CD3+/CD4+ lymphocytes and CD3+/CD8+ lymphocytes were significantly delayed in patients who received umbilical cord blood stem cells. In patients with chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD), recovery of the total lymphocyte count and CD19+ lymphocytes at 3 months post-transplant were significantly delayed. However, acute GVHD (aGVHD) and cytomegalovirus (CMV) reactivation did not influence the IR of any lymphocyte subset. Further, delayed reconstitution of lymphocyte subsets did not correspond to inferior survival outcomes in this study.
Conclusion
We observed that some lymphocyte reconstitutions after HSCT were influenced by the stem cell source and preparative regimens. However, delayed CD19+ lymphocyte reconstitution may be associated with cGVHD.
doi:10.5045/kjh.2012.47.1.44
PMCID: PMC3317470  PMID: 22479277
Immune reconstitution; Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; Children; Lymphocyte subset
3.  Clinical implications of chimerism after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in children with non-malignant diseases 
The Korean Journal of Hematology  2011;46(4):258-264.
Background
The effects of chimerism on outcomes following allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) are unclear and may differ between diseases. We retrospectively evaluated the association between chimerism and transplant outcomes in children with nonmalignant diseases.
Methods
Chimerism was evaluated using short-tandem repeat polymerase chain reaction (STR-PCR) in 48 patients, with mixed chimerism (MC) defined as greater than 1% recipient cells.
Results
The only variable exerting a significant influence on patients' chimerism status was the number of infused CD34+ cells. MC was detected in 23 transplants (9 showing transient MC; 10 with sustained low levels [≤30%] of autologous cells; and 4 with high-level MC [>30%]). The degree of STR-PCR at 28 days after HSCT was significantly higher in patients with high-level MC than those with transient or low-level MC. All patients with transient or low-level MC successfully maintained engraftment and showed a clinical response to HSCT, whereas 2 of the 4 patients with high-level MC experienced graft failure. The incidences of grades II-IV acute and chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) were significantly higher in patients with complete donor chimerism (CC) than MC. We observed no significant survival differences between CC and MC groups. However, the survival rate was lower in patients with high MC than those with low-level or transient MC (P=0.03).
Conclusion
In non-malignant diseases, MC may indicate a tolerant state with a decreased incidence of GVHD. However, high-level MC may signify an increased risk of graft failure and a lower survival rate.
doi:10.5045/kjh.2011.46.4.258
PMCID: PMC3259518  PMID: 22259632
Non-malignant disease; Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; Chimerism
4.  The impact of HLA matching on unrelated donor hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in Korean children 
Background
The impact of HLA matching on outcomes of unrelated donor (URD) hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) varies in different racial or ethnic groups. Since little is known about the impact of such matching on URD HSCT in Korean children, we analyzed this issue.
Methods
We analyzed the outcomes of 142 patients who underwent URD HSCT at 4 Korean medical centers. All patient donor pairs were fully typed for HLA-A, -B, -C, and -DR alleles.
Results
At a median follow-up of 22 months, 3-year survival rates for patients with 8, 7, and ≤6 matched alleles were 88.4%, 70.7%, and 53.6%, respectively. A single mismatch (Mm) at HLA-B or -C was associated with lower survival compared with that associated with 8 matched alleles. No significant differences were observed between single-allele and single-antigen Mms with respect to survival rate or acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD) incidence rates. HLA disparity had a greater impact on the survival of patients with high-risk malignancy than of those with low-risk malignancy. Among pairs with a single Mm, only locus A showed a significant association and higher risk of grade III-IV aGVHD compared to those in patients with 8 matched alleles.
Conclusion
Disparity in HLA class I, regardless of antigen or allele Mm, adversely affected both survival and grade III-IV aGVHD development. An increased number of HLA Mms was associated with a higher risk of post-transplantation complications. Further investigations using larger cohorts are required to confirm the effects of HLA mismatching on URD HSCT patient outcomes.
doi:10.5045/kjh.2011.46.1.11
PMCID: PMC3065620  PMID: 21461298
URD HSCT; HLA; Korean children
5.  Early central nervous system complications after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in children 
The Korean Journal of Hematology  2010;45(3):164-170.
Background
Central nervous system (CNS) complications after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) have not been well characterized in the pediatric population.
Methods
We retrospectively analyzed data of 202 consecutive children who underwent allogeneic HSCT (60 from matched related donors, 9 from mismatched related donors, and 133 from unrelated donors) at Asan Medical Center between 1998 and 2009.
Results
Twenty-seven children (13.5%) developed CNS complications within 6 months after HSCT. Calcineurin inhibitor (CNI)-associated neurotoxicity was the most common CNS complication (n=16), followed by CNS infection (n=2), cerebrovascular events (n=2), thrombotic microangiopathy-associated events (n=2), metabolic encephalopathy (n=2), irradiation/chemotherapy injury (n=1), and encephalopathy/myelopathy of unknown causes (n=2). Univariate analysis showed that a transplant from an alternative donor and the occurrence of acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) (>grade 2) were associated with a significantly increased risk of CNS complications. In the multivariate analysis, acute GVHD >grade 2 was identified as an independent risk factor for early CNS complications. The 5-year overall survival rate was significantly lower in patients with CNS complications (52.1% vs. 64.9%, P=0.014), whereas CNI-associated neurotoxicity did not affect the survival outcome.
Conclusion
CNS complications are frequent among children undergoing HSCT, contributing to early death after transplant. More attention should be paid to the development of CNS complications for recipients of alternative donor transplants and patients with severe acute GVHD who are at increased risk for CNS complications.
doi:10.5045/kjh.2010.45.3.164
PMCID: PMC2983044  PMID: 21120204
Allogeneic; Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; Neurological complication; Cyclosporine; Children
6.  Improved outcome in childhood ALL with intensive consolidation and hematopoietic stem cell transplant 
The Korean Journal of Hematology  2010;45(2):109-114.
Background
Despite advances in chemotherapy, the prognosis of relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) remains poor. Few studies on relapsed ALL have reported the importance of intensive consolidation followed with or without allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT).
Methods
We evaluated the post-relapse outcomes in 47 Korean children with a first marrow relapse, and analyzed the prognostic factors.
Results
A second complete remission (CR) was achieved in 40 patients (85.1%), and at the time of this study, second CR was maintained in 12 of these patients. The estimated 3-yr event-free survival (EFS) rate after the first marrow relapse was 29.8±6.7%, and the overall survival (OS) rate was 45.3±7.5%. We found that second remission, consolidation of pediatric oncology group chemotherapy regimen (POG 9411), and HSCT significantly affected the outcome of the disease after relapse (P<0.001; P=0.004; P=0.05).
Conclusion
The results of our study revealed that an intensified POG 9411 consolidation chemotherapy regimen followed by HSCT can improve the outcome of patients with relapsed ALL.
doi:10.5045/kjh.2010.45.2.109
PMCID: PMC2983016  PMID: 21120189
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia; Relapse; Intensive consolidation; Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
7.  Reduced-dose craniospinal radiotherapy followed by high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell rescue for children with newly diagnosed high-risk medulloblastoma or supratentorial primitive neuroectodermal tumor 
The Korean Journal of Hematology  2010;45(2):120-126.
Background
In this study, we investigated the effects of reduced-dose craniospinal radiotherapy (CSRT) followed by tandem high-dose chemotherapy (HDCT) with autologous stem cell rescue (ASCR) in children with a newly diagnosed high-risk medulloblastoma (MB) or supratentorial primitive neuroectodermal tumor (sPNET).
Methods
Between March 2005 and April 2007, patients older than 3 years with a newly diagnosed high-risk MB or sPNET were enrolled. The patients received two cycles of pre-RT chemotherapy consisting of cisplatin, etoposide, vincristine, and cyclophosphamide (cycle A), and carboplatin, etoposide, vincristine, and ifosphamide (cycle B), followed by CSRT with 23.4 Gy and local RT with 30.6 Gy. After four cycles of post-RT chemotherapy (cycles A, B, A, and B), tandem double HDCT with ASCR was performed.
Results
A total of 13 patients (MB=11, sPNET=2) were enrolled. Of these, one patient progressed, one patient died of septic shock after the second cycle of B, and one patient relapsed after the third cycle of B. The 3-year event-free survival (EFS) rate of the patients intended for HDCT was 76.9%, whereas the 3-year EFS rate of the patients who received HDCT was 100%. No treatment-related mortality occurred during HDCT.
Conclusion
Although the follow-up period was short and the patient cohort was small in size, the results of this study are encouraging. The limited toxicity and favorable EFS rate observed in children treated with reduced-dose CSRT followed by HDCT and ASCR warrant further exploration in a larger study population.
doi:10.5045/kjh.2010.45.2.120
PMCID: PMC2983022  PMID: 21120191
Radiotherapy; High-dose chemotherapy; Autologous stem cell transplantation; Medulloblastoma; Supratentorial primitive neuroectodermal tumor; Children

Results 1-7 (7)