Predictors and outcomes of flares in chronic graft-versus-host disease

Najla El Jurdi, Grigori Okoev, Todd E. DeFor, Shernan G. Holtan, Brian C. Betts, Bruce R. Blazar, Claudio G. Brunstein, Margaret L. MacMillan, Daniel J Weisdorf, Mukta Arora

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD) after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) requires prolonged immunosuppressive therapy (IST), often requiring slow tapering with patients experiencing cGVHD flares and treatment failure. In 145 adult recipients developing cGVHD after matched sibling or umbilical cord blood donor HCT from 2010 to 2018, 2-year cumulative incidence of flares after cGVHD diagnosis was estimated at 60% (95% CI, 51–70%), with median time-to-first flare of 188 days (range, 16–751). Of 88 patients experiencing a flare, 32 (36%) had multiple flares (range, 2–4). First flare treatment consisted of an increase in prednisone dose in 77 patients (88%), plus topical therapy in 8 (9%) or another systemic IST in 43 patients (49%). Higher flare risk was associated with quiescent type of cGVHD at onset (HR 1.8; 95% CI: 1.1–2.7; p = 0.04). Patients without a flare required a shorter duration of IST and were more likely to achieve a durable discontinuation of systemic IST (86% vs. 31% for ≥6 consecutive months). Flares were associated with protective effect on relapse (HR 0.2, 95% CI: 0.1–0.3), however not with worsened 2-year NRM or OS. Flares of cGVHD identify a group needing better approaches to limit the duration of IST and thus the morbidity of cGVHD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)790-794
Number of pages5
JournalBone marrow transplantation
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by NIH grant P30 CA77598 utilizing the Biostatistics Core of the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health Award Number UL1TR002494.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited.


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