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Bone Marrow Transplant. 2005 May;35(10):1003-10.

Treatment of steroid-resistant acute graft-versus-host disease with daclizumab and etanercept.

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  • 1Division of Haematology and Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Rostock, Germany.


Steroid-resistant acute GVHD (aGVHD) following allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (alloHSCT) continues to be associated with a high mortality. We report the results of a phase II study of treatment of steroid-resistant aGVHD with the IL-2 receptor antibody daclizumab combined with the TNF-receptor fusion protein etanercept. Treatment consisted of daclizumab 1 mg/kg given i.v. on days 1, 4, 8, 15, 22 and etanercept 16 mg/m(2) s.c. on days 1, 5, 9, 13, 17. A total of 21 patients (age 15-61 years) with steroid-resistant aGVHD after alloHSCT were included in the study. Donor types were HLA-matched related (n=6), HLA-matched unrelated (n=14), and HLA-mismatched unrelated (n=1). Eight patients achieved complete, and six showed partial remission of aGVHD. Seven patients did not respond. Four of 21 patients are currently alive with a median follow-up of 586 (185-1155) days. Three patients died due to relapsed malignancy. Treatment-related mortality was due to infectious complications (n=11) or organ failure due to aGVHD (n=3). In total, 12 patients developed subsequent chronic GVHD. In conclusion, the data demonstrate an acceptable response rate of the combination of daclizumab and etanercept in the treatment of steroid-resistant aGVHD. Nevertheless, long-term mortality due to infectious complications and chronic GVHD remains high.

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