We have reported encouraging results of unrelated cord blood transplantation for patients with lymphoid malignancies. Whether those outcomes are comparable to matched unrelated donor transplants remains to be defined. We studied 645 adult patients with mature lymphoid malignancies who received an allogeneic unrelated donor transplant using umbilical cord blood (n=104) or mobilized peripheral blood stem cells (n=541) after a reduced-intensity conditioning regimen. Unrelated cord blood recipients had more refractory disease. Median follow-up time was 30 months. Neutrophil engraftment (81% vs. 97%, respectively; P<0.0001) and chronic graft-versus-host disease (26% vs. 52%; P=0.0005) were less frequent after unrelated cord blood than after matched unrelated donor, whereas no differences were observed in grade II-IV acute graft-versus-host disease (29% vs. 32%), non-relapse mortality (29% vs. 28%), and relapse or progression (28% vs. 35%) at 36 months. There were also no significant differences in 2-year progression-free survival (43% vs. 58%, respectively) and overall survival (36% vs. 51%) at 36 months. In a multivariate analysis, no differences were observed in the outcomes between the two stem cell sources except for a higher risk of neutrophil engraftment (hazard ratio=2.12; P<0.0001) and chronic graft-versus-host disease (hazard ratio 2.10; P=0.0002) after matched unrelated donor transplant. In conclusion, there was no difference in final outcomes after transplantation between umbilical cord blood and matched unrelated donor transplant. Umbilical cord blood is a valuable alternative for patients with lymphoid malignancies lacking an HLA-matched donor, being associated with lower risk of chronic graft-versus-host disease.