[Influence of graft-versus-host disease on long-term survival of 26 patients with hematologic malignancies after transplantation]

Qu Lin, Min Dong, Qing-Ming Wang, Jing-Yun Wen, Xiang-Yuan Wu
Ai Zheng, Aizheng, Chinese Journal of Cancer 2006, 25 (10): 1261-5

BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE: Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is a major complication of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT), and also is an important factor affecting the outcome of transplantation. Some researches showed that either acute or chronic GVHD is often accompanied by graft-versus-leukemia (GVL) effect, and this positive effect is associated with the decrease of leukemia relapse and the prolongation of disease-free survival of recipients. This study was to assess the influence of GVHD on the outcome of allo-HSCT.

METHODS: Twenty-six patients with hematologic malignancies received allo-HSCT from Mar. 1995 to Oct. 2005. The occurrence of GVHD, relapse of leukemia, and survival of recipients were analyzed retrospectively, and the correlations of GVHD to leukemia relapse and patients' survival were evaluated.

RESULTS: With a median follow-up of 20 months (range 2-127 months) after transplantation, 20 (76.9%) patients developed GVHD, 1 of which had tumor relapsed; 3 of the 6 patients without GVHD had tumor relapsed. The relapse rate was significantly lower in the recipients with GVHD than in the recipients without GVHD (P<0.05). After transplantation, 16 patients survived disease-freely, and 10 died. Kaplan-Meier survival curves showed that the 3-year disease-freely survival rate was 60%. The disease-freely survival rate was significantly higher in the recipients with GVHD than in the recipients without GVHD (15/20 vs. 1/6, log-rank=7.30, P<0.05). Cox regression models showed a significantly decreased risk of death in the recipients with GVHD (risk ratio=0.2, P<0.05). Of the 20 recipients with GVHD, 17 achieved complete response (CR), 15 of whom survived disease-freely; no survived in the 3 patients who did not achieve CR. The disease-freely survival rate was significantly higher in the recipients achieved CR than in the recipients did not (P<0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: GVHD is an important factor that may influence the outcome of allo-HSCT. Treatment efficacy of GVHD is significantly associated with the disease-free survival of recipients. Early recognition and treatment of acute GVHD is the key factor of successful treatment.

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