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We initially conducted a multicenter, randomized trial (n = 43), and subsequently a questionnaire study (n = 209) of participating hospitals, to evaluate whether infused fresh frozen plasma (FFP) could prevent the occurrence of hepatic veno-occlusive disease (VOD) after stem cell transplantation (SCT). Forty-three patients were divided into two groups: 23 receiving FFP infusions and 20 not receiving it. VOD developed in three patients not receiving FFP. Plasma von Willebrand factor (VWF) antigen levels were lower at days 0, 7 and 28 after SCT in patients receiving FFP than in those not receiving it, whereas plasma ADAMTS13 activity (ADAMTS13:AC) did not differ between them. Plasma VWF multimer (VWFM) was demonstrated to be defective in the high ~ intermediate VWFM during the early post-SCT phase, but there was a significant increase in high VWFM just before VOD onset. This suggests that a relative enzyme-to-substrate (ADAMTS13/high-VWFM) imbalance is involved in the pathogenesis of VOD. To strengthen this hypothesis, the incidence of VOD was apparently lower in patients receiving FFP infusions than in those not receiving it (0/23 vs 3/20) in the randomized trial. Further, the results combined with the subsequent questionnaire study (0/36 vs 11/173) clearly showed the incidence to be statistically significant (0/59 vs 14/193, P = 0.033).

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