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1.  Phase 1/2 trial of vorinostat plus tacrolimus and mycophenolate to prevent graft versus host disease following related donor reduced intensity conditioning allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation 
The lancet oncology  2013;15(1):87-95.
Acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) remains a significant barrier to a more widespread application of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Vorinostat (suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid) is a histone deacetylases (HDAC) inhibitor that has been shown to attenuate GVHD in pre-clinical models. We aimed to study the safety and activity of vorinostat in combination with standard immunoprophylaxis for GVHD prevention in patients undergoing related donor reduced intensity conditioning HSCT.
In this prospective, single-arm phase 1/2 study of vorinostat, we recruited patients with high-risk hematologic malignances at two centers in the USA. We enrolled patients aged 18 years or older who were candidates for a reduced intensity conditioning HSCT and had an available 8/8- or 7/8-Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) matched related donor. Disease status had to be adequately controlled at the time of transplant. All patients received a conditioning regimen consisting of fludarabine 40 mg/m2 daily for four days (total dose 160 mg/m2) and busulfan 3·2 mg/kg daily for two days (total dose 6·4 mg/kg). GVHD prophylaxis consisted of mycophenolate mofetil 1 gram three times daily from day 0 and through day 28 and tacrolimus beginning on day −3 pre-HSCT and tapered beginning on day 56 and discontinued by day 180 post-HSCT in the absence of GVHD. The investigational agent, vorinostat, was initiated on day −10 through day 100 post-HSCT. The primary endpoint of the study was grade 2–4 acute GVHD by day 100. We expected to reduce the incidence to 25% from 42% based on similarly treated patients from the study centers and published literature. Patients were assessed for both toxicity and the primary endpoint if at least 21 days of vorinostat were administered. Patients who received less than 21 days of therapy were still assessed for toxicity and were replaced in accordance to the protocol. The trial is registered with, NCT00810602.
Between March 2008 and February 2013, we enrolled 50 patients evaluable for both toxicity and response. All patients engrafted neutrophils and platelets at expected times post-HSCT. The median percentages of chimerism in whole-blood at day 100 and 1-year were 98% (interquartile range [IQR], 98–100) and 100% (IQR, 100–100), respectively. The primary endpoint of the study was met with a day 100 cumulative incidence of grade 2–4 acute GVHD of 22% (95% cumulative incidence: 13%, 36%). Eight additional patients enrolled were assessed for toxicity only, in accordance with the protocol, because they received less than 21 days of study drug. The most common non-hematologic adverse events were all grade 3 and included electrolyte disturbances (N=15), hyperglycemia (N=10), infections (N=4), mucositis (N=4), and elevated liver enzymes (N=3). There was one grade 4 hypokalemia event and two grade 4 infections. Non-symptomatic thrombocytopenia which occurred after engraftment was the most common hematologic grade 3 or 4 adverse event (N=9), but was transient and all cases resolved swiftly.
Administration of vorinostat in combination with standard GVHD prophylaxis after related donor reduced intensity conditioning HSCT is safe and appears to reduce severe GVHD. Future studies are needed to assess the effect of vorinostat in the prevention of GVHD in broader HSCT settings.
PMCID: PMC4103793  PMID: 24295572
GVHD; hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; HDAC inhibitor; vorinostat
2.  Prophylaxis of Graft-Versus-Host Disease in Unrelated Donor Transplantation With Pentostatin, Tacrolimus, and Mini-Methotrexate: A Phase I/II Controlled, Adaptively Randomized Study 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2010;29(3):294-302.
Acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality after matched unrelated, related, or mismatched related donor hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT). Improved GVHD prevention methods are needed. Pentostatin, an adenosine deaminase inhibitor, leads to lymphocyte depletion with low risk of myelosuppression. We hypothesized that addition of pentostatin to GVHD prophylaxis with tacrolimus and mini-methotrexate may improve outcomes, and we conducted a Bayesian adaptively randomized, controlled, dose-finding study, taking into account toxicity and efficacy.
Patients and Methods
Success was defined as the patient being alive, engrafted, in remission, without GVHD 100 days post-HSCT and no grade ≥ 3 GVHD at any time. Patients were randomly assigned to pentostatin doses of 0, 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, and 2.0 mg/m2 with drug administered on HSCT days 8, 15, 22, and 30. Eligible patients were recipients of mismatched related (n = 10) or unrelated (n = 137) donor HSCT.
Median age was 47 years. Thirty-seven, 10, 29, 61, and 10 patients were assigned to the control and four treatment groups, respectively, with comparable baseline characteristics. Pentostatin doses of 1.0 and 1.5 mg/m2 had the highest success rates (69.0% and 70.5%) versus control (54.1%). The posterior probabilities that the success rates were greater with 1.5 mg/m2 or 1.0 mg/m2 versus control are 0.944 and 0.821, respectively. Hepatic aGVHD rates were 0%, 17.2%, and 11.1%, respectively, for 1.5 mg/m2, 1.0 mg/m2, and control groups. No grades 3 to 4 aGVHD occurred in 11 HLA-mismatched recipients in the 1.5 mg/m2 group.
Pentostatin increased the likelihood of success as defined here, and should be further investigated in larger randomized, confirmatory studies.
PMCID: PMC3056464  PMID: 21149654
3.  Multicenter phase ii study of a combination of cyclosporine a, methotrexate and mycophenolate mofetil for GVHD prophylaxis: results of the Chinese Bone Marrow Transplant Cooperative Group (CBMTCG) 
Improvement of current GVHD prophylactic therapies remains an important goal in the allo-HSCT. We have described a novel prophylaxis regimen in a single institution trial. The Chinese Bone Marrow Transplant Cooperative Group (CBMTCG) initiated a phase II multicenter study.
The study was designed as a prospective, single arm phase II open-label, multicenter clinical trial. The primary endpoint was improvement of aGVHD by 25% over historical control (40%) in Chinese patients. 508 patients were enrolled. All of the patients received cyclosporine A (CsA), methotrexate (MTX) and mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) (0.5-1.0 g daily for 30 days) as GVHD prophylaxis regimen.
The primary endpoint was met with cumulative incidences of grades 2 to 4 and grades 3 to 4 aGVHD of 23.2% and 10.3%, respectively. Incidence for cGVHD was 67.4%. The non-relapse mortality (NRM) rate was 18.4% at 2 years. The probabilities of leukemia free survival (LFS) for non-advanced stage and advanced stage patients at 2 years were 69.7% and 44.8% respectively (p = 0.000). Recipient age ≥ 40 years, advanced stage and Busulfan-Fludarabine(BuFlu) conditioning regimen were identified as major risk factors for aGVHD. Recipient age ≥ 40 years, BuFlu conditioning regimens, female donor/male recipient and prior aGVHD were associated with cGVHD. Despite lower RM (relapse mortality), patients with grade 2–4 aGVHD had higher NRM and worse OS and LFS compared to patients with grade 0–1 aGVHD. In contrast, patients with cGVHD had better OS and LFS and lower RM compared to patients without cGVHD.
The novel GVHD regimen decreased the risk for aGVHD by 42% without improving the risk for cGVHD compared to historical controls. Development of aGVHD was associated with worse OS and LFS as well as higher NRM. In contrast, cGVHD was associated with improved OS and LFS likely attributed to a GVL effect.
PMCID: PMC4237802  PMID: 25139202
Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT); Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) prophylaxis; Mycophenolate mofetil (MMF)
4.  Comparison of Tacrolimus and Sirolimus (Tac/Sir) versus Tacrolimus, Sirolimus, and mini-methotrexate (Tac/Sir/Mtx) as Acute GVHD Prophylaxis after Reduced Intensity Conditioning Allogeneic Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplantation 
Previous studies have shown that the addition of sirolimus to tacrolimus/mini-methotrexate (tac/sir/mtx) as GVHD prophylaxis produces low rates of acute GVHD after reduced intensity (RIC) allogeneic SCT. To assess whether the post transplant methotrexate can be safely eliminated altogether, we conducted a prospective clinical trial testing the combination of tacrolimus and silrolimus (tac/sir) alone as GVHD prophylaxis after RIC SCT from matched related donors. We compare the results with patients who received tac/sir/mtx as GVHD prophylaxis after RIC SCT from matched related donors in a previous prospective study. Patients on both trials received fludarabine 30 mg/m2/d IV and intravenous busulfan 0.8 mg/kg/d IV from day −5 through day −2 as conditioning, followed by transplantation of unmanipulated filgrastim mobilized peripheral blood stem cells. Both cohorts received tacrolimus and sirolimus orally starting on day-3, with doses adjusted to achieve trough serum levels of 5–10 ng/ml and 3–12 ng/ml, respectively. The tac/sir/mtx cohort received additional mini-methotrexate (5 mg/m2 IV) on day +1,3,6. Filgrastim 5 mcg/kg SC QD was started on day +1 until neutrophil engraftment. Twenty nine patients were transplanted on tac/sir, and 46 were transplanted on tac/sir/mtx. The two groups were balanced in age, gender, and disease characteristics. Engraftment was brisk and donor chimerism after transplant was robust in both groups. The cumulative incidence of grade II–IV acute GVHD were similar, 17% vs 11% for the tac/sir and tac/sir/mtx cohorts, respectively (p=0.46). There was also no difference in cumulative incidence of extensive chronic GVHD, treatment related mortality, disease relapse, or survival. The GVHD prophylaxis combination of tacrolimus and sirolimus is well tolerated, and is associated with a low incidence of acute GVHD in matched related donor RIC transplantation. The omission of mini-methotrexate from the tacrolimus and sirolimus GVHD prophylaxis combination does not appear to impact adversely on the development of acute GVHD.
PMCID: PMC2700950  PMID: 19539216
GVHD; Sirolimus; Rapamycin; Tacrolimus; Methotrexate; Transplantation
5.  Expression of SOCS1 and SOCS3 genes in human graft-versus-host disease after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation 
Blood research  2013;48(1):16-23.
Suppressor of cytokine signaling genes (SOCS) are regarded as pivotal negative feedback regulators of cytokine signals, including the interferon-gamma (IFN-γ), granulocyte-colony stimulating factor, and interleukin families, released by T cells. A detailed understanding of the involvement of SOCS genes in graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is critical to effectively manage GVHD, yet their expression patterns among recipients remain largely unexplored.
Expression levels of SOCS1 and SOCS3 were determined by real-time quantitative reverse transcription PCR (qRT-PCR) in patients with acute GVHD (aGVHD) and chronic GVHD (cGVHD), in a severity-dependent manner, after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). A total of 71 recipients with AML (N=40), ALL (N=12), myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS; N=10), chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML; N=2), severe aplastic anemia (SAA; N=5), or others (N=2), who received allogeneic HSCT from human leukocyte antigen-identical siblings or unrelated donors between 2009 and 2011, were included in the present study.
Overall, the expression levels of SOCS1 decreased in recipients with grade II to IV aGVHD and cGVHD when compared to normal donors and non-GVHD recipients. Interestingly, the expressions of SOCS1 decreased significantly more in cGVHD than in aGVHD recipients (P=0.0091). In contrast, SOCS3 expressions were similarly reduced in all the recipients.
This is the first study to show that SOCS1 and SOCS3 are differentially expressed in recipients following allogeneic HSCT, suggesting a prognostic correlation between SOCS genes and the development of GVHD. This result provides a new platform to study GVHD immunobiology and potential diagnostic and therapeutic targets for GVHD.
PMCID: PMC3625005  PMID: 23589790
Suppressor of cytokine signaling proteins; Graft vs. host disease; Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction; Allogeneic transplantation
6.  Timeline, Epidemiology, and Risk Factors for Bacterial, Fungal, and Viral Infections in Children and Adolescents after Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation 
Advances made in the field of hematopoietic stem cell transplantations (HSCT) over the past 20 years may have had an impact on the distribution of posttransplantation infections. We sought to retrospectively analyze the epidemiology and risk factors for bacterial, fungal, and viral infections in children after allogeneic HSCT in a cohort of 759 children who underwent allogeneic HSCT in a single institution between 1990 and 2009. The association between infections and risk factors of interest at 0 to 30 days, 31 to 100 days, and 101 days to 2 years posttransplantation was evaluated using logistic regression. Difference among the subtypes within each category was studied. There were 243 matched-related donors, 239 matched-unrelated donors (MUDs), and 176 haploidentical donor transplantations. Era of transplantation (0–30 days), peripheral blood stem cell product, acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD; 31–100 days), and chronic GVHD (cGVHD; 101–730 days) were associated with higher risk for bacterial infections at the respective time periods. Patients with aGVHD (31–100 days), cGVHD, and older age (101–730 days) were at higher risk for fungal infections. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) donor/recipient (D/R) serostatus (0–100 days), era of transplantation, MUD HSCT (31–100 days), and cGVHD (101–730 days), influenced viral infections. Gram-positive outnumbered gramnegative bacterial infections; aspergillosis and candidemia were equally prevalent in all time periods. Haploidentical donor HSCT was not associated with an increased risk of infections. There seems to be a continuum in the timeline of infections posttransplantation, with bacterial, fungal, and viral infections prevalent in all time periods, particularly late after the transplantation, the risk affected by GVHD, CMV, D/R status, product type, older age, and use of unrelated donors.
PMCID: PMC3554248  PMID: 22922523
Infections; Children; Allogeneic; Stem cell transplant
7.  Posttransplant Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia and Other Autoimmune Cytopenias are Increased in Very Young Infants Undergoing Unrelated Donor Umbilical Cord Blood Transplantation 
Autoimmune cytopenias are a recognized complication of hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT), and are considered to be a feature of chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD). We report on a cohort of very young infants (≤3 months of age) receiving HSCT from unrelated donor umbilical cord blood for genetic disorders who developed posttransplant autoimmune cytopenias at an increased rate compared to older aged controls. These infants received a conditioning regimen consisting of busulfan, cyclophosphamide, and antithymocyte globulin (ATG). All infants received HLA mismatched unrelated umbilical cord blood as graft source. GVHD prophylaxis was either cyclosporine + methylprednisolone (n = 16) or cyclosporine + mycophenolate mofetil (n =3). Engraftment, acute GVHD (aGVHD) and cGVHD, survival, treatment-related mortality (TRM), and deaths were evaluated. Ten patients developed cGVHD manifesting as autoimmune cytopenias at a median 247 days posttransplant with a cumulative incidence of 44% (95% confidence interval [CI] 21%–68%) and 56% (95% CI 32%–80%) at 1 and 2 years, respectively. In 6 of 10 patients developing autoimmune cytopenias, cGVHD presented as autoimmune cytopenia de novo. The cytopenias observed included anemia (n =4), thrombocytopenia (n =1), anemia with thrombocytopenia (n =3), and pancytopenia (n =2). No graft factors were identified as being significant to development of cGVHD. All patients responded to treatment with methylprednisolone, azithioprine ± rituximab. One patient required splenectomy. We hypothesize that posttransplant immunosuppression interferes with normal immune ontogeny creating immune dysregulation and graft directed cell destruction. Alternative strategies to prevent GVHD should be considered for this unique patient population.
PMCID: PMC3735356  PMID: 18804040
Autoimmune hemolytic anemia; Unrelated umbilical cord blood transplantation; Chronic graft versus host disease
8.  Use of Matched Unrelated Donors Compared with Matched Related Donors is Associated with Lower Relapse and Superior Progression Free Survival after Reduced Intensity Conditioning Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation 
As success of reduced intensity conditioning (RIC) hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) relies primarily on graft-versus-leukemia (GVL) activity, increased minor HLA disparity in unrelated compared to related donors could have a significant impact on transplant outcomes. To assess whether use of unrelated donors (URD) engenders more potent GVL in RIC HSCT compared to matched related donors (MRD), we retrospectively studied 433 consecutive T-replete 6/6 HLA matched URD (n= 246) and MRD (n=187) RIC HSCT for hematologic malignancies at our institution. Diseases included: AML(127), NHL(71), CLL (68), MDS (64), HD(40), CML (25), MM(23), MPD (12), ALL(7), other leukemia (1). All received uniform fludarabine and intravenous busulfan conditioning, and GVHD prophylaxis with tacrolimus/mini-MTX or tacrolimus/sirolimus +/− mini-MTX. Unrelated donors were younger compared to MRD (median age: 33 yrs vs. 52 yrs, p<0.0001), and provided larger CD34+ products (median CD34+ cells infused: 8.7 × 106/kg vs. 7.5 × 106/kg, p=0.002). Distribution of diseases, disease risk, prior transplant, and CMV status was similar in both cohorts. Cumulative incidence of grade II–IV acute GVHD (at day+180), 2 year-chronic GVHD, and 2-year non-relapse mortality (NRM) were 20% vs. 16%, 55% vs. 50%, and 8% vs. 6% in URD and MRD, respectively (p=NS). Cumulative incidence of relapse at 2 years was lower in URD, 52% vs. 65% (p=0.005). With median follow-up of 26.5 and 35.8 months, 2-yr progression free survival (PFS) was significantly better in unrelated donor transplants, 39.5% for URD and 29% for MRD (p= 0.01). Overall survival at 2 years were 56% for URD vs. 50% for MRD (p=0.53). In multivariable analysis, URD was associated with a lower risk of relapse (HR 0.67, p =0.002) and superior PFS (HR 0.69, p=0.002). These results suggest that URD is associated with greater GVL activity than MRD, and could have practice changing impact on future donor selection in RIC HSCT.
PMCID: PMC3080446  PMID: 21193054
9.  Graft-Versus-Host Disease Prophylaxis after Transplantation: A Network Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e114735.
Graft-versus-host Disease (GvHD) prophylaxis after allogeneic hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT) is an ongoing effort but relative effects of different policies are not systematically explored.
We systematically reviewed 30-year evidence on GvHD prophylaxis and quantified the relative effect of different policies using a network meta-analysis. We searched PubMed and the Cochrane Library for randomized studies on the topic. The primary outcome of interest was grade II-IV acute GvHD over 0 or I (with odds ratio OR <1 denoting benefit).
Thirty-three eligible studies that enrolled 3,440 patients (published up to June 2014), provided data on seven immunosuppressive drugs namely cyclosporin A (CsA), methotrexate (MTX), anti-thymocyte globulin (ATG), mycophenolate mofetil (MMF), tacrolimus, sirolimus or corticosteroids and their combinations to calculate 14 direct and 21 indirect effects. The majority of trials (32/33) referred to myeloablative conditioning and sibling transplants (25/33). Tacrolimus/MTX (OR 0.44; 95% 0.27–0.70, number needed to treat to benefit, i.e. to avert a case of II-IV GvHD, NNTB = 5) and ATG/CsA/MTX (OR 0.45; 95%CI 0.26–0.78; NNTB = 5) were superior over CsA/MTX. ATG/CsA/MTX did not differ from tacrolimus/MTX (indirect evidence). Sirolimus-based prophylaxis outperformed CsA/MTX (OR 0.10; 95%CI 0.02–0.49, NNTB = 4) and marginally outperformed tacrolimus/MTX (OR 0.22; 95%CI 0.05–1.11). Add-on corticosteroids had no benefit over CsA/MTX.
Tacrolimus/MTX and ATG/CsA/MTX were the outperformers over CsA/MTX, but sirolimus-based regimens showed also potential. More randomized data are needed for reduced-intensity conditioning, as well as for MMF and sirolimus-containing regimens.
PMCID: PMC4259365  PMID: 25485632
10.  Thrombotic microangiopathy associated with sirolimus levels following allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation with tacrolimus/sirolimus-based GVHD prophylaxis 
Post-transplant thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA) is a multi-factorial complication of allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT) whose incidence is increased when using a sirolimus plus tacrolimus regimen for acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD) prophylaxis. We evaluated the incidence and possible risk factors for TMA in a case series of 177 patients who received allo-HCT using SIR/TAC-based GVHD prophylaxis. Donors were either sibling (n=82) or matched unrelated (n=95). Within the first 100 days post-HCT, 30 (17%) patients were diagnosed with TMA, and an additional nine patients (5%) were classified as probable TMA cases. The median time to TMA onset was 4.6 weeks (range: 1.6-10.6). Thirty-four patients developed both TMA and aGVHD, with the majority of patients (81%) developing aGVHD first. By multivariable analysis, the following factors were found to be associated with increased risk of TMA: day 14 serum sirolimus: ≥9.9 ng/ml (HR: 2.19, 95% CI: 1.13-4.27, p=0.02), presence of prior aGVHD grades II-IV (HR: 3.04, 95% CI: 1.38-6.71, p<0.01), and fully myeloablative conditioning (HR: 3.47, 95% CI: 1.60-7.53, p<0.01). The risk factors for TMA suggest that when using sirolimus/tacrolimus for GVHD prophylaxis, careful monitoring and adjustment of sirolimus dosages is critical, particularly in patients with active aGVHD.
PMCID: PMC3589900  PMID: 23078784
TMA; thrombotic microangiopathy; GVHD prophylaxis; sirolimus; allogeneic transplantation
11.  Bortezomib-Based Graft-Versus-Host Disease Prophylaxis in HLA-Mismatched Unrelated Donor Transplantation 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2012;30(26):3202-3208.
HLA-mismatched unrelated donor (MMUD) hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT) is associated with increased graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and impaired survival. In reduced-intensity conditioning (RIC), neither ex vivo nor in vivo T-cell depletion (eg, antithymocyte globulin) convincingly improved outcomes. The proteasome inhibitor bortezomib has immunomodulatory properties potentially beneficial for control of GVHD in T-cell-replete HLA-mismatched transplantation.
Patients and Methods
We conducted a prospective phase I/II trial of a GVHD prophylaxis regimen of short-course bortezomib, administered once per day on days +1, +4, and +7 after peripheral blood stem-cell infusion plus standard tacrolimus and methotrexate in patients with hematologic malignancies undergoing MMUD RIC HSCT. We report outcomes for 45 study patients: 40 (89%) 1-locus and five (11%) 2-loci mismatches (HLA-A, -B, -C, -DRB1, or -DQB1), with a median of 36.5 months (range, 17.4 to 59.6 months) follow-up.
The 180-day cumulative incidence of grade 2 to 4 acute GVHD was 22% (95% CI, 11% to 35%). One-year cumulative incidence of chronic GVHD was 29% (95% CI, 16% to 43%). Two-year cumulative incidences of nonrelapse mortality (NRM) and relapse were 11% (95% CI, 4% to 22%) and 38% (95% CI, 24% to 52%), respectively. Two-year progression-free survival and overall survival were 51% (95% CI, 36% to 64%) and 64% (95% CI, 49% to 76%), respectively. Bortezomib-treated HLA-mismatched patients experienced rates of NRM, acute and chronic GVHD, and survival similar to those of contemporaneous HLA-matched RIC HSCT at our institution. Immune recovery, including CD8+ T-cell and natural killer cell reconstitution, was enhanced with bortezomib.
A novel short-course, bortezomib-based GVHD regimen can abrogate the survival impairment of MMUD RIC HSCT, can enhance early immune reconstitution, and appears to be suitable for prospective randomized evaluation.
PMCID: PMC3434979  PMID: 22869883
12.  Anti-Thymocyte Globulin (Thymoglobulin), Tacrolimus, and Sirolimus as Acute Graft-versus-Host Disease Prophylaxis for Unrelated Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation 
Acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in patients undergoing unrelated hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. We prospectively evaluated the efficacy of intermediate-dose rabbit antithymocyte globulin (Thymoglobulin® a total of 4.5 mg/kg given over days −3, −2, and −1) in combination with tacrolimus and sirolimus for the prevention of aGVHD. We enrolled 47 recipients who underwent unrelated hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Patients received daily granulocyte colony-stimulating factor starting on day +6 until neutrophil engraftment (median duration, 11 days; range, 9-15 days). Twenty-two patients received HLA 8/8 and 25 received 7/8 matched grafts, respectively. The median follow-up duration was 23.6 months (range, 18.8-27.9 months). The cumulative incidence of grade II to IV aGVHD was 23.4% (95% confidence interval, 12.4-36.3). At 2-year follow-up, the cumulative incidence of nonrelapse mortality was 31.9%, cumulative incidence of relapse was 24.6%, and cumulative incidence of chronic GVHD was 33%. Progression-free survival at 1 year was 54%, with a median of 17.7 months. Overall survival at 1 year was 65%, with no median reached. These results suggest that the combination of Thymoglobulin, tacrolimus, and sirolimus in patients undergoing unrelated hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is well tolerated and associated with a low incidence and severity of aGVHD and chronic graft-versus-host disease.
PMCID: PMC3777606  PMID: 22710143
aGVHD; Unrelated hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; Antithymocyte globulin; Tacrolimus; Sirolimus
13.  HLA DR15 Antigen Status Does Not Impact Graft-versus-Host Disease or Survival in HLA-Matched Sibling Transplantation for Hematologic Malignancies 
The HLA class II DRB1 antigen DR15 is an important prognostic marker in immune-mediated marrow failure states. DR15 has also been associated with favorable outcomes (reduced acute graft-versus-host disease [aGVHD] and relapse) after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplant. To elucidate the impact of DR15 on transplantation outcomes, we conducted a retrospective study of 2891 recipients of first allogeneic stem cell transplant from HLA-matched sibling donors for the treatment of acute leukemia, chronic myeloid leukemia, or myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) between 1990 and 2007. All patients received conventional myeloablative conditioning, T-replete grafts, and cyclosporine plus methotrexate-based GVHD prophylaxis. DNA-based HLA typing allowed categorization of 732 patients (25.3%) as positive and 2159 patients (74.7%) as negative for DRB1*15:01 or *15:02 (DR15). There were no significant differences in baseline characteristics between the HLA DR15 positive and negative groups. In univariate analysis, HLA-DR15 status had no impact on neutrophil engraftment, aGVHD, chronic GVHD (cGVHD), treatment-related mortality, relapse, disease-free survival, or overall survival (OS). In multivariate analysis, DR15 status showed no significant difference in aGVHD, cGVHD, OS, or relapse. In conclusion, DR15 status had no impact on major HLA-matched sibling donor hematopoietic cell transplant outcomes in this large and homogenous cohort of patients with leukemia and MDS.
PMCID: PMC3580851  PMID: 22414493
DR15; Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT); GVHD; Survival; graft-versus-lymphoma
14.  Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for patients with acute leukemia 
The purposes of this study were to assess the efficacy of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) for acute leukemia (AL) and analyze the factors affecting the prognosis of these patients.
The clinical and follow-up data of 93 AL patients (median age, 30 years) undergoing allogeneic HSCT in Xiangya Hospital over the past 12 years were collected, and the potential factors affecting the efficacy and prognosis of allogeneic HSCT patients were determined.
Hematopoietic reconstitution was achieved in 90 patients. At the last follow-up, the incidences of severe acute graft versus host disease (aGvHD) and extensive chronic GvHD (cGvHD) were 14.0% and 20.0%, the 3-year cumulative incidence of transplantation related mortality (TRM) and relapse rate were 16.8%±6.1% and 21.3%±6.7%, and the estimated 3-year overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) of the patients were 64.6%±5.4% and 56.5%±5.5%, respectively. Univariate analysis indicated that age older than 40 years, HLA mismatch, and severe lung infection within the first 100 days after transplantation were risk factors for severe aGvHD, age older than 40 years, HLA mismatch, severe lung infection within the first 100 days after transplantation, and severe aGvHD were risk factors for TRM, high-risk AL and lack of cGvHD were risk factors for relapse (all P<0.05). Survival estimation showed that HLA mismatch, severe lung infection occurring within the first 100 days post-transplantation, high-risk AL severe aGvHD and lack of cGvHD were risk factors associated with poor prognosis (all P<0.05). Further multivariate analyses revealed that severe lung infection within the first 100 days post-transplantation, severe aGvHD and lack of cGvHD were independent risk factors for unfavorable outcomes (all P<0.05).
Allogeneic HSCT can improve the DFS of AL patients, and severe lung infection within the first 100 days post-transplantation, severe aGvHD and lack of cGvHD are independent risk factors affecting the prognosis.
PMCID: PMC3752360  PMID: 23997525
Leukemia; hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT); graft-versus-leukemia effect
15.  Evaluation of risk for graft-versus-host disease in children who receive less than the full doses of mini-dose methotrexate for graft-versus-host disease prophylaxis in allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation 
Korean Journal of Pediatrics  2013;56(11):490-495.
The use of cyclosporine and mini-dose methotrexate (MTX) is a common strategy for graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) prophylaxis in allogeneic transplants. We investigated whether patients who receive fewer than the planned MTX doses are at increased risk for GVHD.
The study cohort included 103 patients who received allogeneic transplants at the Department of Pediatrics of The Catholic University of Korea College of Medicine, from January 2010 to December 2011. MTX was administered on days 1, 3, 6, and 11 after transplant at a dose of 5 mg/m2 each. Within the cohort, 76 patients (74%) received all 4 doses of MTX [MTX(4) group], while 27 patients (26%) received 0-3 doses [MTX(0-3) group].
Although there was no difference in neutrophil engraftment between the 2 groups, platelet engraftment was significantly faster in the MTX(4) group (median, 15 days), compared to the MTX(0-3) group (median, 25 days; P=0.034). The incidence of grades II-IV acute GVHD was not different between the MTX(4) and MTX(0-3) groups (P=0.417). In the multivariate study, human leukocyte antigen mismatch was the most significant factor causing grades II-IV acute GVHD (P=0.002), followed by female donor to male recipient transplant (P=0.034). No difference was found between the MTX(4) and MTX (0-3) groups regarding grades III-IV acute GVHD, chronic GVHD, and disease-free survival.
Our results indicate that deviations from the full dose schedule of MTX for GVHD prophylaxis do not lead to increased incidence of either acute or chronic GVHD.
PMCID: PMC3859882  PMID: 24348662
Methotrexate; Graft-versus-host disease; Prophylaxis
16.  Assessment of Cyclosporine Serum Concentrations on the Incidence of Acute Graft Versus Host Disease Post Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation  
Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is a curative treatment option for hematological disorders. Cyclosporine (CsA) is one of the major immunosuppressive agents for the prophylaxis against graft versus host disease (GvHD).
In this retrospective study, we evaluated the effects of CsA serum levels on the incidence of acute GvHD and transplant outcomes.
Retrospective study in 103 adult patients received Hematopoitic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT) in the Hematology-Oncology, Bone Marrow Transplantation center at Shariati Hospital in Tehran, Iran.
All participants received prophylactic regimen of cyclosporine plus methotrexate. CsA dose titration was done according to patients᾽ serum levels and drug toxicity. Serum levels tested on the twice weekly basis in first 4 weeks after transplantation.
Acute GvHD (grades II-IV) developed in 44 patients (43%, 95%CI: 33%-52%). The median time to ANC and PLT recovery was 13 days (range: 9-31 days) and 16 days (range: 0-38 days), respectively. Univariate analysis of risk factors related to aGvHD (grade II-IV) development showed a higher risk of incidence of aGvHD (grades II-IV) for patients having the lowest blood CSA concentration (<200 ng/mL) in the third weeks after transplantation (36% vs. 12%, P = 0.035). The only risk factors related to incidence of aGvHD grades III-IV was also blood CsA concentration at 3rd week post-transplant (15% vs. 3%, P = 0.047). The CsA concentration at 3rd week was not related to disease free survival and overall survival (P = 0.913 vs. P = 0.81) respectively.
Higher CsA serum levels in the third week post HSCT significantly decreased incidence of acute GvHD.
PMCID: PMC3985243  PMID: 24734085
Hematopoietic stem cell transplant; Graft versus host disease; Cyclosporine
17.  Improved Outcomes Using Tacrolimus/Sirolimus for Graft Versus Host Disease prophylaxis with a Reduced Intensity Conditioning Regimen for Allogeneic Hematopoietic Cell Transplant as treatment of Myelofibrosis 
Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) using reduced intensity conditioning (RIC) regimens is a potentially curative treatment for patients (patients) with myelofibrosis (MF), as we (1) and others have reported. Non-relapse mortality (NRM) from Graft vs. Host Disease (GVHD) and other complications has limited the success of this approach. As part of an ongoing prospective research study at City of Hope, a combination of tacrolimus/sirolimus +/− methotrexate (MTX) for GVHD prophylaxis has become the standard treatment for our allogeneic HCT patients. In this report, we present results for 23 consecutive patients, including extended follow up for 9 patients previously reported who received cyclosporine (CSA)/mycophenolate (MMF) +/− MTX, and the current series of 14 patients who received tacrolimus/sirolimus +/− MTX, and evaluate the impact of the GVHD prophylaxis regimen on the outcomes. Median follow up for alive patients was 29.0 months (9.5–97.0). The estimated 2 yr overall survival (OS) for the CSA/MMF cohort was 55.6 % (confidence interval 36.0, 71.3), and for the tacrolimus/sirolimus cohort it was 92.9% (63.3, 98.8) (p=0.047). The probability of grade III or IV acute GVHD was 60% for the CSA/MMF patients, and 10% for the tacrolimus/sirolimus group (p=0.0102). No significant differences were seen for grade II to IV acute GVHD in the two groups. We conclude that the combination of tacrolimus/sirolimus +/− MTX for GVHD prophylaxis in the setting of RIC HCT for MF appears to reduce the incidence of severe acute GVHD and NRM, and leads to improved OS compared to CSA/MMF +/− MTX.
PMCID: PMC2819616  PMID: 19786111
Myelofibrosis; reduced intensity conditioning; allogeneic transplantation; tacrolimus/sirolimus
18.  Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation for the Treatment of High-Risk Acute Myelogenous Leukemia and Myelodysplastic Syndrome Using Reduced-Intensity Conditioning with Fludarabine and Melphalan 
Reduced-intensity conditioning has extended the use of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) to patients otherwise not eligible for this treatment due to older age or frailty. One hundred twelve acute myelogenous leukemia/myelodysplastic syndromes patients received fludarabine and melphalan (FM) conditioning with allogeneic HSCT. Most patients (73%) were not in remission. Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) prophylaxis consisted of tacrolimus and mini-methotrexate. Median age was 55 years (range, 22–74). Donors were related (53%) and unrelated (47%). Median follow-up of surviving patients (n = 43) was 29.4 months (range, 13.1–87.7). The complete remission (CR) rate was 82%. Estimates of 2-year survival were 66%, 40%, and 23% for patients in CR, with active disease without and with circulating blasts at HSCT, respectively. In multivariate analysis, survival was negatively influenced by active disease at HSCT and development of grade II–IV acute GVHD. Presence of circulating blasts at HSCT negatively influenced freedom from disease progression. Incidence of nonrelapse mortality (NRM) was significantly higher for patients with active disease, but was not influenced by patient age. Patients in CR had a day-100 and 2-year NRM of 0% and 20%, respectively. Use of unrelated donors increased the risk of NRM only among patients with active disease. FM and HSCT elicited long-term disease control in a significant fraction of this high-risk cohort.
PMCID: PMC4080636  PMID: 17382251
Leukemia; Myelodysplastic syndrome; Transplant; Aging
19.  Factors associated with bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome and chronic graft-versus-host disease after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation 
American journal of hematology  2014;89(4):404-409.
Bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS) is a form of chronic graft vs. host disease (cGVHD) and a highly morbid pulmonary complication after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). We assessed the prevalence and risk factors for BOS and cGVHD in a cohort of HSCT recipients, including those who received reduced intensity conditioning (RIC) HSCT. Between January 1, 2000 and June 30, 2010, all patients who underwent allogeneic HSCT at our institution (n = 1854) were retrospectively screened for the development of BOS by PFT criteria. We matched the BOS cases with two groups of control patients: (1) patients who had concurrent cGVHD without BOS and (2) those who developed neither cGVHD nor BOS. Comparisons between BOS patients and controls were conducted using t-test or Fisher’s exact tests. Multivariate regression analysis was performed to examine factors associated with BOS diagnosis. All statistical analyses were performed using SAS 9.2. We identified 89 patients (4.8%) meeting diagnostic criteria for BOS at a median time of 491 days (range: 48–2067) after HSCT. Eighty-six (97%) of our BOS cohort had extra-pulmonary cGVHD. In multivariate analysis compared to patients without cGVHD, patients who received busulfan-based conditioning, had unrelated donors, and had female donors were significantly more likely to develop BOS, while ATG administration was associated with a lower risk of BOS. Our novel results suggest that busulfan conditioning, even in RIC transplantation, could be an important risk factor for BOS and cGVHD.
PMCID: PMC4314109  PMID: 24375545
20.  Up-Regulation of α4β7 Integrin on Peripheral T Cell Subsets Correlates with the Development of Acute Intestinal Graft-versus-Host Disease following Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation 
Acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD) is a major complication after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). The pathophysiology of aGVHD involves priming of naïve donor T cells in host secondary lymphoid tissue, followed by migration of effector T cells to target organs. Mediators of lymphocyte trafficking are believed to play a significant role in this migration. In this retrospective case-controlled study, we analyzed the expression of α4β7 integrin and CCR9, 2 surface T cell molecules specific for intestinal trafficking, from blood samples collected previously from 59 patients after HSCT (20 without aGVHD, 20 with skin aGVHD, and 19 with intestinal aGVHD). All samples had been obtained before the onset of aGVHD symptoms (with 1 sample collected on the day of symptom onset). Analysis by flow cytometry demonstrated that α4β7 integrin was significantly increased on both naïve and memory T cells in patients who subsequently developed intestinal aGVHD, with the most significant differences observed in memory subsets. Immunohistochemical staining on rectal biopsy specimens from patients with intestinal aGVHD showed that expression of α4β7 integrin was concentrated on mononuclear cells in blood vessels within the intestinal mucosa. These results suggest that α4β7 integrin likely is involved in lymphocyte trafficking in intestinal aGVHD and may have potential clinical use as a correlative biomarker or as a target for the treatment and prophylaxis of intestinal aGVHD after HSCT.
PMCID: PMC2945817  PMID: 19660719
GVHD; α4β7 integrin; Lymphocyte trafficking
21.  High Incidence of Severe Acute Graft-Versus-Host Disease with Tacrolimus and Mycophenolate Mofetil in a Large Cohort of Related and Unrelated Allogeneic Transplantation Patients 
Both acute and chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) are major causes of morbidity and mortality in patients undergoing allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (AHSCT). The optimal pharmacological regimen for GVHD prophylaxis is unclear, but combinations of a calcineurin inhibitor (cyclosporin or tacrolimus [Tac]) and an antimetabolite (methotrexate or mycophenolate mofetil [MMF]) are typically used. We retrospectively evaluated the clinical outcomes of 414 consecutive patients who underwent AHSCT from sibling (SD) or unrelated donors (UD) with Tac/MMF combination, between January 2005 and August 2010. The median follow-up was 60 months. Less than one third of the patients received a reduced-intensity chemoregimen. The incidence of grades III and IV acute GVHD was 22.3% and 36.5% in SD and UD groups, respectively (P = .0007). The incidence of chronic GVHD was 47.1% and 52.7% in the SD and UD groups, respectively. Nonrelapse mortality (NRM) at 60 months was 33.3% and 46.5% in the SD and UD groups, respectively (P = .0016). The incidence of relapse was 22.4% for UD and 28.8% for SD. Five-year overall survival was 43% and 34% in the SD and UD groups, respectively (P = .0183). GVHD was the leading cause of death for the entire cohort. Multivariable analysis showed that 8/8 HLA match, patient’s age < 60, and low-risk disease were associated with better survival. The use of Tac/MMF for GVHD prophylaxis was associated with a relatively high incidence of severe acute GVHD and NRM in AHSCT from sibling and unrelated donors.
PMCID: PMC4110977  PMID: 24709007
Graft-versus-host disease; Hematopoietic stem cell; transplantation; Tacrolimus; Mycophenolate mofetil
22.  The Effect of GVHD on Long-term Outcomes after Peripheral Blood Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation from an HLA-identical Sibling in Adult Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia: A Landmark Analysis Approach in Competing Risks 
Allogeneic Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is the most effective therapy to prevent relapse in acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). This benefit is affected by non-relapse mortality (NRM) due to complications such as graft versus host disease (GVHD). A new approach in analyzing time-dependent covariates in competing risks is landmark analysis. So, the aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of acute and chronic GVHD on long-term outcomes, relapse and NRM, after allogeneic HSCT in adult ALL using landmark analysis.
This study was conducted on 252 ALL patients who were allogeneic transplanted from an HLA-identical sibling with peripheral blood (PB) as the source of stem cell from 2004 to 2012 and were followed-up until 2013. In the first 100 days after transplant, a landmark analysis on days +10, +11, +12, +17, +24, and +31 was applied to assess the effect of acute GVHD on early relapse and NRM. Similarly, for patients alive and event-free at day +100 after transplant, a landmark analysis at time points day +101, months +4, +5, +6, +9, and +12 was applied to evaluate the effect of chronic GVHD on late relapse and NRM.
Five-year LFS and OS were 35.0% (95% CI: 29.1, 42.2%) and 37.5% (95% CI: 31.3, 45.0%), respectively. Five-year cumulative incidence of relapse was 44.5% (95% CI: 37.9, 51.0%) while this was 20.4% (95% CI: 15.4, 26.0%) for NRM. The landmark analysis in the first 100 days after transplant showed that the grade III/IV of aGVHD has a lower risk of relapse but higher risk of NRM after adjustment for the EBMT risk score. For patients alive at day +100, cGVHD had no significant effect on relapse. Limited cGVHD had lower risk of NRM and after 6 month post-transplant the risk of NRM decreased and there were not important difference between the groups of cGVHD.
Using advanced models enables us to estimate the effects more precisely and ultimately make inference more accurately.
PMCID: PMC4003436  PMID: 24800032
Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia; Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplantation; Graft versus Host Disease; Survival Analysis; Competing Risks; Landmark Analysis
23.  Extracorporeal photopheresis in the management of graft-versus-host disease 
Current Oncology  2014;21(2):e310-e325.
Is there a benefit associated with the use of extracorporeal photopheresis (ecp) compared with other treatment options for patients who have received allogeneic stem-cell transplantation (sct) and are experiencing graft-versus-host disease (gvhd), if response rate, survival, or improvement in symptoms are the outcomes of interest?
After allogeneic sct, gvhd is a common complication historically categorized as either acute (agvhd: onset ≤100 days post-transplantation) or chronic (cgvhd: >100 days post-transplantation). Graft-versus-host disease occurs when the donor’s immune cells recognize the host patient’s tissues and organs as foreign and attack them, causing a multitude of problems, often in liver, gastrointestinal system, and skin.
Photopheresis is one therapy that has emerged since the early 2000s for the management of steroid-refractory gvhd because of its steroid-sparing ability, low associated toxicity, and efficacy in some clinical settings.
The present recommendation report summarizes the available data about photopheresis for the treatment of gvhd and provides recommendations on its use.
The medline (Ovid) database was systematically searched for January 1995 to August 2013, and the best available evidence was used to draft recommendations relevant to adult and pediatric patients in Ontario who have received allogeneic sct and are experiencing gvhd. Draft recommendations were first reviewed by clinical and methodology experts before undergoing internal review. Final approval of this practice guideline report was obtained from both the Stem Cell Transplant Steering Committee and the Report Approval Panel of the Program in Evidence-Based Care.
These recommendations apply to adult and pediatric patients who have received an allogeneic sct and are experiencing gvhd: ecp is an acceptable therapy for the treatment of steroid-dependent or refractory agvhd in adult and pediatric patients.ecp is an effective therapy for the treatment of steroid-dependent or refractory cgvhd in adult and pediatric patients.
Qualifying Statement
In Ontario, ecp is currently a covered therapy for patients with steroid-refractory gvhd who meet certain eligibility criteria.
PMCID: PMC3997461  PMID: 24764713
Stem-cell transplantation; bone marrow; peripheral blood; graft-versus-host disease; photopheresis
24.  Reduced-intensity and myeloablative conditioning allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in patients with acute myeloid leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome: a meta-analysis and systematic review 
Background: We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to compare the clinical outcomes and toxicity of reduced-intensity conditioning (RIC) and myeloablative conditioning (MAC) allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (alloHSCT) in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). Evidence acquisition: A comprehensive PubMed and Embase search was performed using the following keywords: “reduced-intensity”, “myeloablative”, “AML”, and “MDS”. The primary endpoints were overall survival (OS) and event-free survival (EFS), and the secondary endpoints were relapse incidence (RI), non-relapse mortality (NRM), grade II-IV acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD), and chronic GVHD (cGVHD). Results: Eight studies (2 prospective and 6 retrospective) involving 6464 patients who received RIC (n = 1571) or MAC (n = 4893) alloHSCT were included in the analysis. Median age and the number of patients with low hematopoietic cell transplantation-specific comorbidity index scores and who received ex vivo or in vivo T cell depletion were higher in the RIC arm than in the MAC arm. Significant heterogeneity was not found among the studies for any of the endpoints except for grade II-IV aGVHD. OS (odds ratio [OR], 0.96; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.84-1.08; p = 0.47) and EFS (OR, 0.88; 95% CI, 0.77-1.00; p = 0.05) were similar in the RIC and MAC arms, whereas RI (OR, 1.41; 95% CI, 1.24-1.59; p < 0.00001) was higher in the RIC arm than in the MAC arm. The incidence of grade II-IV aGVHD (OR, 0.59; 95% CI, 0.36-0.96; p = 0.03) was lower in the RIC arm than in the MAC arm; however, NRM (OR, 0.99; 95% CI, 0.87-1.13; p = 0.85), total cGVHD (OR, 1.10; 95% CI, 0.88-1.38; p = 0.38), and extensive cGVHD (OR, 1.01; 95% CI, 0.75-1.37; p = 0.95) were not significantly different between the two arms. Conclusion: RIC alloHSCT may be an effective treatment strategy for AML/MDS patients who are not suitable candidates for MAC alloHSCT. However, heterogeneity in baseline patient characteristics and treatment protocols may have influenced the outcomes of RIC alloHSCT in our analysis. Future randomized controlled trials are needed to confirm our findings.
PMCID: PMC4276213  PMID: 25550955
Reduced-intensity conditioning; myeloablative conditioning; allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; acute myeloid leukemia; myelodysplastic syndrome; meta-analysis; systematic review
25.  Multipotent Mesenchymal Stromal Cells for the Prophylaxis of Acute Graft-versus-Host Disease—A Phase II Study 
Stem Cells International  2011;2012:968213.
The efficacy and the safety of the administration of multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells (MMSCs) for acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD) prophylaxis following allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HSCT) were studied. This prospective clinical trial was based on the random patient allocation to the following two groups receiving (1) standard GVHD prophylaxis and (2) standard GVHD prophylaxis combined with MMSCs infusion. Bone marrow MMSCs from hematopoietic stem cell donors were cultured and administered to the recipients at doses of 0.9–1.3 × 106/kg when the blood counts indicated recovery. aGVHD of stage II–IV developed in 38.9% and 5.3% of patients in group 1 and group 2, respectively, (P = 0.002). There were no differences in the graft rejection rates, chronic GVHD development, or infectious complications. Overall mortality was 16.7% for patients in group 1 and 5.3% for patients in group 2. The efficacy and the safety of MMSC administration for aGVHD prophylaxis were demonstrated in this study.
PMCID: PMC3253492  PMID: 22242033

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