One hundred and ninety-three patients with hematological malignancies and a follow-up > or =1 year, treated with stem cell transplantation (45 autologous, 99 allogeneic T cell-depleted matched, 49 allogeneic T cell-depleted mismatched) from July 1985 to May 1998, were considered evaluable for the development of cataracts. Total body irradiation (TBI), administered either according to a hyperfractionated scheme (HTBI) or in a single dose (STBI), was employed in the conditioning regimens. HTBI was prescribed in 94% of patients undergoing allogeneic matched transplant, while STBI was used in 71% of patients receiving allogeneic mismatched and in all patients undergoing autologous transplant. The median follow-up was 7.56 years in the HTBI and 3.02 years in the STBI group. Among the different risk factors analyzed by univariate analysis only the TBI scheme and type of transplant reached statistical significance (P < 0.0001 and P < 0.001, respectively). By multivariate analysis only the TBI scheme was an independent factor for cataract development (STBI vs HTBI RR 7.2; P < 0.01). Our results showed that STBI is more cataractogenic than HTBI. The incidence of cataract we observed was among the lowest described in the literature. T cell depletion, because it prevents graft-versus-host disease and reduces the protracted use of post-transplant steroids, explains the results we obtained.
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