Total body irradiation (TBI) kills leukemia cells and other blood cancer cells. TBI is used with chemotherapy (chemo) to prepare a person for BMT. BMT replaces cancer cells with healthy cells. Researchers at CIBMTR looked at medical records of about 2,700 people with these blood cancers:
- acute myeloid leukemia (AML),
- acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL),
- chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and
- myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS).
All the people got BMT from a matched donor sometime during 2001-2013 and received high doses of irradiation to prepare for BMT. The researchers studied whether patients who received extra-high doses would have any benefit over patients who received standard high doses of irradiation.
Researchers learned that most people don’t benefit from receiving extra-high doses of irradiation. People who got the most TBI had lower risk that the cancer would return but had a higher risk of organ failure due to toxicity of these extra-high doses.
However, extra high-dose TBI could be considered in people who are:
- younger than 40,
- in relatively good health,
- and who have advanced cancer.
More research is needed on how to make radiation therapy safer.
Ask your doctor
Learn more about
- This research
- chemotherapy-or-radiation-before-transplant/">Radiation therapy, from BeTheMatch.org
- More study summaries at cibmtr.org