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Pulmonary function changes in long-term survivors of bone marrow transplantation. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 1996 Aug 01;36(1):67-75 PMID: 8823260

Pubmed ID



PURPOSE: This study was undertaken to evaluate long-term pulmonary function changes in patients undergoing bone marrow transplantation (BMT), to assess their clinical significance, and to identify factors influencing these changes.

METHODS AND MATERIALS: Pulmonary function tests (PFT) were evaluated before and after BMT in 111 adult patients undergoing BMT between 1985 and 1991. Forced expiratory volume at 1 s (FEV1), forced vital capacity (FVC), diffusing capacity (DLCO), and total lung capacity (TLC) were evaluated. One hundred and three patients (92.8%) received total body irradiation (TBI) to a total dose of 14 Gy in nine equal fractions. The lung dose was restricted to < 6.5 Gy in 95% of patients with partial transmission lung shielding. Seventy-eight percent of patients had acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD), 69% chronic graft-vs.-host disease (cGVHD), and 63% posttransplant pulmonary infection. Effects of GVHD, TBI, radiation dose to the lungs, dose rate of TBI, posttransplant pulmonary infection, Busulfan use for conditioning, age, and history of smoking were evaluated for their influence on pulmonary function.

RESULTS: Posttransplant FEV1, FVC, and TLC were lower than pretransplant values (p < 0.05) at 6 months and 1 year posttransplant with subsequent recovery. DLCO was significantly lower at all posttransplant intervals. FEV1 did not fall significantly in patients without acute or chronic GVHD and recovered earlier than in patients without posttransplant pulmonary infection. Recovery of FVC, TLC, and DLCO was also delayed in patients with acute and chronic GVHD and posttransplant pulmonary infection. Multiple regression analysis revealed an association between a higher radiation dose to the lungs, and decreased FVC at 2 years (p = 0.01). Progressive obstructive pulmonary disease was not observed.

CONCLUSION: An initial decline in PFTs with subsequent recovery was observed. Factors associated with delayed recovery and incomplete recovery of PFTs were GVHD, posttransplant pulmonary infection, and higher radiation dose to the lungs. The conditioning regimen used at Medical College of Wisconsin, including relatively high TBI doses with partial transmission pulmonary shielding, appears to be well tolerated by the lungs in long-term survivors. No progressive decline in PFTs or symptomatic decline in pulmonary function was observed during the time interval studied.

Author List

Gore EM, Lawton CA, Ash RC, Lipchik RJ


Elizabeth M. Gore MD Professor in the Radiation Oncology department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Colleen A. Lawton MD Vice Chair, Professor in the Radiation Oncology department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Randolph J. Lipchik MD Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin


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MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Acute Disease
Bone Marrow Transplantation
Chronic Disease
Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
Graft vs Host Disease
Lung Diseases
Respiratory Function Tests
Whole-Body Irradiation
jenkins-FCD Prod-353 9ccd8489072cb19f5b9f808bb23ed672c582f41e