Clinical efficacy and safety of stem cell therapy for knee osteoarthritis


Background: We performed a meta-analysis of the efficacy and safety of stem cell therapy as a clinical treatment of knee osteoarthritis. This meta-analysis is expected to provide evidence of the efficacy of stem cell therapy, which is currently controversial, as a conservative treatment for knee osteoarthritis.
Methods: An online search for relevant articles was conducted in the PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane Library databases. The search terms were “stem cells” and “osteoarthritis.” We conducted a quality assessment of the included articles and extracted the following indicators: Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) score, Subjective International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) score, Western Ontario and McMaster Universities (WOMAC) subscales, and adverse events. The RevMan5.3 software was used for
determining effect sizes.

Results: Nine randomized controlled trials involving 339 patients were included. VAS score and IKDC score from baseline to 24 months were improved in the stem cell therapy group compared to those in the control group. However, no significant difference was observed between the 2 groups in IKDC score changes from baseline to 6 and 12 months, as well as in WOMAC-Pain, WOMACStiffness, and WOMAC-Physical Function score changes at each visit point.

Conclusion: Stem cell therapy is certainly superior to traditional treatments in the conservative treatment of KOA; it considerably reduces pain with no obvious additional side effects.

Abbreviations: AD-MSCs = adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells, BMAC = bone marrow aspirate concentrate, BM-MSCs = bone marrow mesenchymal stromal cells, Cl = confidence interval, HA = hyaluronic acid, HTO = high tibial osteotomy, IKDC = International Knee Documentation Committee, IL-1RA = IL-1 receptor antagonist, MSCs = mesenchymal stem cells, PBSC = peripheral blood stem cells, PRG = progenza, PRISMA = Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis, PRP
= platelet-poor plasma, RCTs = randomized controlled trials, SMD = standardized mean difference, VAS = Visual Analogue Scale, WOMAC = Western Ontario and McMaster Universities.

Keywords: knee osteoarthritis, meta-analysis, stem cell therapy

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