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How Old is Too Old for BMT (bone marrow transplantation)?

How Old is Too Old for BMT (bone marrow transplantation)?

Question

Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
Can you tell me what the age cutoff is for BMT? It seems to be increasing, and I was wondering if there is a standard.

Thank you.

Answer

Deana Potts, MSN, CRNP, Advanced Practice Oncology Nurse, responds:

There is no standard age cutoff for Bone Marrow or Stem Cell Transplants.

An autologous (self-donor) bone marrow/stem cell transplant is practical into the mid-60s, although the upper age limit continues to be expanded into the 70s, depending on the disease, the therapy, and the general health of the patient.

A full myeloablative allogeneic (non-self donor marrow) bone marrow/stem cell transplant is for the most part impractical in patients beyond their mid-50s because of its toxicity, although the upper age limit here is also expanding slightly.

However, a non-myeloablative allogeneic bone marrow/stem cell transplant (sometimes called a "mini-allo") has a different age cutoff. Patients have traditionally undergone these transplants well into their 60's and 70's, depending on the individual, disease, and donor source.