Author(s): Thomas ED
Marrow grafting, once undertaken only after failure of all other forms of therapy, is now the preferred therapy for some malignant diseases. Chemoradiotherapy and marrow grafting for patients with acute leukemia who have failed chemotherapy results in cure rates of 10%-30%. For patients under the age of 50 with acute nonlymphoblastic leukemia transplanted in first remission, the cure rate is approximately 50% with better results in younger patients. Marrow grafting is now being explored in a variety of types of malignant diseases having in common a steep dose-response curve to therapy, therapy limited by marrow toxicity, and the availability of a suitable marrow donor. Current research in the field of marrow transplantation is reviewed and provides a basis for a reasonable expectation that results of marrow transplantation will continue to improve. The use of partially matched family members or phenotypically histocompatibility leukocyte antigen-identical unrelated donors will make marrow grafting available to a larger fraction of patients. Marrow grafting, developed for the treatment of malignant disease, has found an important application to nonmalignant diseases, including immunodeficiency syndromes, aplastic anemia, and thalassemia and other genetic disorders of hematopoiesis.