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Revista Brasileira de Hematologia e Hemoterapia

Print version ISSN 1516-8484

Rev. Bras. Hematol. Hemoter. vol.34 no.5 São Paulo  2012 



Comment on: clinical impact of systematic nutritional care in adults submitted to allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation



Liane Esteves Daudt

Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul - UFRGS, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil

Corresponding author



Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (alloHSCT) is an established form of treatment for many patients with severe disorders of the hematopoietic system. Although it is still associated with substantial morbidity and mortality, the results of alloHSCT have improved considerably over the last decades due to a better understanding of stem cell biology, the development of molecular techniques that improve donor and patient compatibility and supportive care measures(1). Transplantation is a complex and expensive procedure that should involve an interdisciplinary team with a wide range of professionals cooperating to improve the results.

In this issue, an article entitled "Clinical impact of systematic nutritional care in adults submitted to allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation" attempts to demonstrate the impact of a systematic clinical protocol of nutrition care on the outcomes of transplanted patients in a single Brazilian institution(2). Although the authors compare the intervention with a historical group, the patients are similar in nutritional and clinical profiles and the results point to benefits in reducing the total parenteral nutrition (TPN) period by up to almost a week. The authors conclude that the implementation of a follow up protocol and nutritional therapy in adult patients submitted to alloHSCT decreased the length of parental nutrition and this may have an impact on hospitalization costs and potentially on the occurrence of medical complications.

Patients undergoing alloHSCT are at increased risk for malnutrition during the transplant period. Multiple factors, such as gastrointestinal toxicity related to radiation and chemotherapeutic agents, as well as graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) decrease absorption in addition to increasing metabolic requirements that contribute to the malnourished state. Nutritional requirements are increased due to catabolic stress, which may also be induced by cytoreductive therapy, GVHD, and blood count reconstitution. Nutritional needs in the alloHSCT population increase by as much as 150% of the estimated basal energy expenditure(3). Poor nutritional status before hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) has been shown to prolong hospital stay and increase patient morbidity and mortality(4). Moreover, the effects of alloHSCT continue long after transplantation with nearly 50% of patients not returning to their pre-transplant weight one year after the procedure(5). The use of TPN in alloHSCT has shown reductions in hospital stay by as much as 7 days, and poor oral intake after transplant also predisposes the patient to develop severe acute GVHD(6).

TPN is utilized as adjunctive therapy during transplant in up to 92% of patients and has demonstrated to improve long-term survival in transplant recipients. Despite published information outlining nutrition support in these patients, there are no clear recommendations on the best time to start TPN nor the best composition of nutritional substrates and supplements(7,8).

Also, the protocols for nutrition assessment, other nutrition support modalities such as the prophylactic use of low-microbial diets, vitamins and supplements, cultural and regional habits and the use of enteral nutrition vary in the literature and in clinical practice(9).

In this scenario, systematic nutritional care tailored for regional characteristics might prevent or decrease severity of the most common debilitating complications of alloHSCT and optimize resources. Further studies are welcome to define more evidence-based approaches for nutrition care and to link them with immunology and physiology in alloHSCT science.



1. Thomas ED. A history of bone marrow transplantation. In: Appelbaum FR, Forman SJ, Negrin RS, Blume KG editors. Thomas' hematopoietic cell transplantation. 5th ed. West Sussex, UK : Wiley-Blackwell; 2009. p. 309-7.         [ Links ]

2. Sommacal HM, Gazal CH, Jochims AM, Beghetto M, Paz A, Silla LM, et al. Clinical impact of systematic nutritional care in adults submitted to allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation Rev Bras Hematol Hemoter. 2012;34(5):334-8.         [ Links ]

3. Forchielli ML, Azzi N, Cadranel S, Paolucci G. Total parenteral nutrition in bone marrow transplant: what is the appropriate energy level? Oncology. 2003;64(1):7-13.         [ Links ]

4. Horsley P, Bauer J, Gallagher B. Poor nutritional status prior to peripheral blood stem cell transplantation is associated with increased length of hospital stay. Bone Marrow Transplant. 2005;35(11):1113-6.         [ Links ]

5. Iestra JA, Fibbe WE, Zwinderman AH, van Staveren WA, Kromhout D. Body weight recovery, eating difficulties and compliance with dietary advice in the first year after stem cell transplantation: a prospective study. Bone Marrow Transplant. 2009;29(5):417-24.         [ Links ] 9.

6. Mattsson J, Westin S, Edlund S, Remberger M. Poor oral nutrition after allogeneic stem cell transplantation correlates significantly with severe graft-versus-host disease. Bone Marrow Transplant. 2006;38(9):629-33.         [ Links ]

7. Bozzetti F, Arends J, Lundholm K, Micklewright A, Zurcher G, Muscaritoli M. ESPEN. ESPEN guidelines on parenteral nutrition: nonsurgical oncology. Clin Nutr. 2009;28(4):445-54.         [ Links ]

8. August DA, Huhmann MB; American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.) Board of Directors. A.S.P.E.N. clinical guidelines: nutrition support therapy during adult anticancer treatment and in hematopoietic cell transplantation. J Parenter Enteral Nutr 2009;33(5):472-500.         [ Links ] Comment in: JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2010;34(4):455; author reply 456.         [ Links ]

9. Aker SP. Nutrition support of the hematopoietic cell transplant recipient. In: Appelbaum FR, Forman SJ, Negrin RS, Blume KG editors. Thomas' hematopoietic cell transplantation. 5th ed. West Sussex, UK : Wiley-Blackwell; 2000. p. 1551-69.         [ Links ]



Corresponding author:
Liane Esteves Daudt
Serviço de Hematologia Clínica e TMO Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre Ramiro Barcelos 2350 9º Sul
90.035-903 Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil

Submitted: 8/28/2012
Accepted: 8/29/2012
Conflict-of-interest disclosure: The author declares no competing financial interest

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