Patients with sickle cell disease (SCD) and thalassemia experience several complications across their lifespan that lead to impairment in different health-related quality of life (HRQOL) domains. There is increasing interest in curative therapies for patients with SCD and thalassemia, including hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) and gene therapy; however, the effect of these therapies on various HRQOL domains remains unclear. Our objective was to systematically evaluate the most recent evidence for the effect of HSCT and gene therapy on HRQOL in patients with SCD and thalassemia. A systematic search of medical literature databases was conducted. A total of 16 studies (thalassemia, n = 9; SCD, n = 6; both, n = 1) involving 517 participants met inclusion criteria (thalassemia, n = 416; SCD, n = 101). HSCT was associated with a small to large positive effects in most HRQOL domains (Cohen’s d; mean = 0.47; median = 0.37; range, 0.27-2.05). In thalassemia, HSCT was frequently associated with large positive effects in physical and emotional HRQOL domains (median d = 0.79 and d = 0.57, respectively). In SCD, HSCT was associated with large positive effects in all HRQOL domains. Emerging data suggest improvement in HRQOL outcomes across different domains following gene therapy in thalassemia and SCD. The quality of evidence was moderate in 13 studies (81%). HSCT has a positive impact on several HRQOL domains in patients with SCD and thalassemia; however, more longitudinal studies are warranted to assess the sustainability of these effects. Reporting HRQOL outcomes from ongoing gene therapy or gene-editing trials in SCD and thalassemia is key to better understand the benefits of such therapies.
© 2021 by The American Society of Hematology.