The development of chronic graft-versus-host disease: An analysis of screening studies and the impact of corticosteroid use at 100 days after transplantation

Journal Article

The value of routine chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) screening studies performed between 70 and 120 days after allogeneic marrow transplantation was retrospectively evaluated among 241 patients. All patients received methotrexate and cyclosporine for GVHD prophylaxis and survived without relapse more than 4 months after transplant. Ninety-one patients (38%) developed clinical extensive chronic GVHD requiring systemic therapy. Data on patients who developed clinical extensive chronic GVHD were compared with those on patients without chronic GVHD to determine which of the following screening tests predicted the subsequent development of clinical extensive chronic GVHD: skin biopsy, oral exam, lip biopsy, Schirmer's test, serum alkaline phosphatase, aspartate transaminase, immunoglobulin level and platelet count. In a univariable analysis, a positive oral examination and a low platelet count were predictive of chronic extensive GVHD development. In a multivariable analysis which adjusted for the contribution of other chronic GVHD risk factors, such as age and a history of acute GVHD none of the screening tests were predictive of chronic GVHD development. The risk factors in this multivariable analysis which had the strongest association with the development of chronic GVHD was a history of acute GVHD and use of corticosteroids at day 100 (RR = 3.9, P = 0.001). The use of corticosteroids for acute GVHD at day 100 had a predictive effect on chronic GVHD development independent of the grade of acute GVHD (RR = 2.1, P = 0.004). Based on these study results, the use of chronic GVHD screening tests may not be of value in predicting who will develop this complication. Patients on corticosteroids at day 100 should be considered for clinical trials to determine the efficacy of new immunosuppressive agents in preventing chronic GVHD.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Wagner, JL; Flowers, MED; Longton, G; Storb, R; Schubert, M; Sullivan, KM

Published Date

  • January 1, 1998

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 22 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 139 - 146

PubMed ID

  • 9707021

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0268-3369