PMID: 3285121May 1, 1988

Acute graft-versus-host disease: clinical characteristics in the cyclosporine era

G B VogelsangG W Santos


Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) remains the major problem in allogeneic bone marrow transplantation. GVHD has limited the use of this technique to HLA-matched donor recipient pairs. Thus, only a quarter of patients who ultimately may have benefited from bone marrow transplantation are currently eligible. Even in matched patient recipient pairs, GVHD accounts for approximately 40% of the deaths following allogeneic bone marrow transplants. One of the major challenges for transplantation is to derive better strategies to prevent and treat GVHD while retaining the allogeneic benefit of graft-versus-leukemia. Current pharmacologic approaches have used cyclosporine, usually in combination with other drugs. More experimental approaches have removed lymphocytes from the marrow grafts. With either approach, maintaining the anti-leukemic benefit of an allogeneic transplant (i.e., immunologic attack of the leukemia resulting in a lower relapse rate), will need to be maintained if that approach will ultimately prove to be useful.


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