Prospective assessment of health-related quality of life in pediatric patients with beta-thalassemia following hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.
Caocci G., Efficace F., Ciotti F., Roncarolo MG., Vacca A., Piras E., Littera R., Dawood Markous RS., Collins GS., Ciceri F., Mandelli F., Marktel S., La Nasa G.
Although hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) has been widely used to treat pediatric patients with beta-thalassemia major, evidence showing whether this treatment improves health-related quality of life (HRQoL) is lacking. We used child-self and parent-proxy reports to prospectively evaluate HRQoL in 28 children with beta-thalassemia from Middle Eastern countries who underwent allogeneic HSCT in Italy. The PedsQL 4.0 Generic Core Scales were administered to patients and their parents 1 month before and 3, 6, and 18 months after transplantation. Two-year overall survival, thalassemia-free survival, mortality, and rejection were 89.3%, 78.6%, 10.9% and 14.3%, respectively. The cumulative incidence of acute and chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) was 36% and 18%, respectively. Physical functioning declined significantly from baseline to 3 months after HSCT (median PedsQL score, 81.3 vs 62.5; P = .02), but then increased significantly up to 18 months after HSCT (median score, 93.7; P = .04). Agreement between child-self and parent-proxy ratings was high. Chronic GVHD was the most significant factor associated with lower HRQoL scores over time (P = .02). The child-self and parent-proxy reports showed improved HRQoL in the children with beta-thalassemia after HSCT. Overall, our study provides preliminary evidence-based data to further support clinical decision making in this area.