Objective: Cardiovascular complication is one of the serious complications in stem cell transplantation (SCT). We measured plasma brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) concentrations in patients who received SCT to evaluate possible cardiac toxicity of the regimens employed in SCT.
Patients: Ten patients with allogeneic SCT and 5 patients with autologous SCT using myeloablative conditioning regimens were enrolled. The preparative chemotherapy for 8 patients with allogeneic SCT included cyclophosphamide (60 mg/kg i.v. for 2 days) and other drugs and that for autologous SCT included cyclophosphamide (50 mg/kg for 2 days) and other drugs. Total body irradiation (TBI) was employed only in the patients who received allogeneic SCT.
Method: Plasma BNP was measured using a radioimmunoassay for human BNP before and after SCT.
Results: In 13 of 15 patients, BNP levels were elevated after SCT. In patients who received a total body irradiation (TBI) of 13.2 Gy, BNP levels were higher than those without irradiation (p=0.01). The BNP level reached a peak within 6 months after SCT in most patients and fell thereafter. But 7 of the 15 patients (46.7%) had an abnormally high level of plasma BNP even after 6 months of SCT which suggests subclinical myocardial damage.
Conclusion: A rise in plasma BNP was frequently observed after SCT, and may be considered to represent cardiac damage caused by the preparative chemotherapy and/or total body irradiation. Since a rise was noted 6 months after SCT, long-term evaluation of cardiac function is important.