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Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2005 Aug;11(8):587-92.

Long-term use of oral beclomethasone dipropionate for the treatment of gastrointestinal graft-versus-host disease.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York 14263, USA.


Treatment of severe acute and chronic gastrointestinal (GI) graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) with prolonged high-dose systemic corticosteroids has limited success and considerable toxicity. Beclomethasone dipropionate (BDP) is a potent topically active steroid. We treated 15 patients with acute (n = 2) or chronic (n = 13) GI GVHD refractory to systemic corticosteroids with 28-day courses of oral BDP (2 mg 4 times daily). Response was measured by the change in GI score (sum of 6 GI symptoms) as well as the ability to taper or discontinue systemic corticosteroids. Nine (60%) of 15 evaluable patients responded to BDP, including 3 complete responses (a GI score of 0 or 1 and discontinuation of systemic corticosteroids). Attempts to taper calcineurin inhibitor during BDP therapy were unsuccessful. The 2 patients with acute GVHD had no response to BDP. Responders received a median of 3 cycles (range, 1-20), compared with 1 cycle (range, 1-5) in nonresponders. Suppression of the hypothalamic-adrenal axis was seen in 2 of the 5 patients tested, but neither demonstrated clinically significant symptoms. We conclude that BDP is safe and effective for long-term treatment of chronic GI GVHD. Multiple courses may be necessary to achieve or maintain response in some patients, and prolonged BDP therapy is a feasible alternative to prolonged systemic corticosteroids.

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