Research Papers: Immunology:

Meta-analysis of the actions of antithymocyte globulin in patients undergoing allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation

Jiaojiao Yuan, Renzhi Pei, Wensi Su, Junjie Cao and Ying Lu _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:10871-10882. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.14719

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Jiaojiao Yuan1, 2, Renzhi Pei2, Wensi Su1, Junjie Cao2 and Ying Lu2

1 Medical School of Ningbo University, Ningbo, Zhejiang, P.R. China

2 Department of Hematology, Yinzhou Hospital Affiliated to Medical School of Ningbo University, Ningbo, Zhejiang, P.R. China

Correspondence to:

Ying Lu, email:

Keywords: antithymocyte globulin, graft-versus-host disease, allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation, meta-analysis, Immunology and Microbiology Section, Immune response, Immunity

Received: August 29, 2016 Accepted: December 20, 2016 Published: January 18, 2017


Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is a serious complication associated with allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT). Antithymocyte globulin (ATG) is widely used prior to allo-HCT for GVHD prevention, though evidence of its efficacy remains unclear. We therefore identified nine randomized controlled trials (RCTs), enrolling 1089 patients (554 in the ATG group and 535 in the non-ATG group) to conduct a meta-analysis of the actions of ATG in allo-HCT. A relative risk or risk ratio (RR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) were calculated for each outcome. Rabbit ATG reduced overall acute (a) GVHD (RR 0.77, 95% CI 0.67-0.89, P = 0.0004), grade III-IV aGVHD (RR 0.53, 95% CI 0.32-0.88, P = 0.01), overall chronic (c) GVHD (RR 0.52, 95% CI 0.42-0.64, P < 0.00001) and extensive cGVHD (RR 0.28, 95% CI 0.18-0.43, P < 0.00001), without increased risk of relapse (RR 1.17, 95% CI 0.91-1.49, P = 0.23). By contrast, horse ATG did not reduce overall aGVHD (RR 1.25, 95% CI 0.88-1.79, P = 0.22) or cGVHD (RR 1.67, 95% CI 0.96-2.91, P = 0.07). ATG marginally reduced 100-day transplant related mortality (RR 0.75, 95% CI 0.56-1.00, P = 0.05) without compromising overall survival or increased risk of infections. Further studies are required to evaluate the optimal dosage and formulation of ATG in different conditioning regimens of transplantation with varied sources of graft and donor.

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