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Transplant Toxicities

The safety and feasibility of probiotics in children and adolescents undergoing hematopoietic cell transplantation

Abstract

Hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) has become a standard treatment for many adult and pediatric conditions. Emerging evidence suggests that perturbations in the microbiota diversity increase recipients’ susceptibilities to gut-mediated conditions such as diarrhea, infection and acute GvHD. Probiotics preserve the microbiota and may minimize the risk of developing a gut-mediated condition; however, their safety has not been evaluated in the setting of HCT. We evaluated the safety and feasibility of the probiotic, Lactobacillus plantarum (LBP), in children and adolescents undergoing allogeneic HCT. Participants received once-daily supplementation with LBP beginning on day −8 or −7 and continued until day +14. Outcomes were compliance with daily administration and incidence of LBP bacteremia. Administration of LBP was feasible with 97% (30/31, 95% confidence interval (CI) 83–100%) of children receiving at least 50% of the probiotic dose (median 97%; range 50–100%). We did not observe any case of LBP bacteremia (0% (0/30) with 95% CI 0–12%). There were not any unexpected adverse events related to LBP. Our study provides preliminary evidence that administration of LBP is safe and feasible in children and adolescents undergoing HCT. Future steps include the conduct of an approved randomized, controlled trial through Children’s Oncology Group.

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Acknowledgements

We thank the patients, families, physicians, nurses, research coordinators and all others who participated in the data collection for this trial. We also thank Probi AB, Irini Lazou Ahrén and Niklas Larsson for providing LBP and their scientific advice for this trial. This work was supported by the Tamarind Foundation to EJL and the All Children’s Research Foundation Pilot Grant to MN.

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Correspondence to E J Ladas.

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Ladas, E., Bhatia, M., Chen, L. et al. The safety and feasibility of probiotics in children and adolescents undergoing hematopoietic cell transplantation. Bone Marrow Transplant 51, 262–266 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/bmt.2015.275

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