Is age a risk factor for cognitive changes following hematopoietic cell transplantation?

A Correction to this article was published on 23 September 2020

This article has been updated


Cognitive deficits following hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) are common and affect post-HCT treatment regimen adherence and quality-of-life. Little is known about effects of age on cognition following HCT. The current study aimed to identify the effects of age on cognition one-year post-HCT, compared to pre-HCT baseline functioning. Participants were 78 autologous and allogeneic transplant recipients who underwent neuropsychological assessments at baseline and one-year post-HCT. Mixed model analyses indicated that no statistically significant main effect of age was observed for any cognitive variable. The Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS) Total Index Score and Trail Making Test (parts A and B) showed significant interaction effects between age and transplant type. These findings indicate that older autologous and allogeneic transplant recipients were predicted to perform similarly; however, young allogeneic HCT recipients were predicted to perform substantially below young autologous transplant recipients. Hierarchical regressions indicated that age failed to predict changes in neuropsychological test performance between baseline and one-year post-HCT. These findings indicate that advanced age may not be a risk factor for worse cognitive outcome post-HCT, though younger allogeneic transplant recipients may be at risk for worse cognitive outcomes, relative to younger autologous recipient counterparts. Clinical implications are discussed.

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Change history

  • 24 September 2020

    The original version of this Article contained an error in the second affilation. It was listed as “Department of Neurology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, MI, USA”. Madison is in the state of Wisconsin (WI) and not Michigan (MI).


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The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation (grant #: 2193.II) supported this work. We thank the research assistants for performing the cognitive testing, including Alyssa Buthman, Courtney Goetz, Mariam Ktiri, and Nicholas Scapini. We also thank the BMT physicians, Physician Assistants, and nurse coordinators from the University of Michigan’s Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program, and Lynne Bischoff, the BMT clinical research coordinator. Finally, we appreciate the time and effort provided by patients receiving HCT at Michigan Medicine.

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Correspondence to John Stratton.

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Stratton, J., Sylvia, A., Hoodin, F. et al. Is age a risk factor for cognitive changes following hematopoietic cell transplantation?. Bone Marrow Transplant (2020).

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