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Haematologica. 2006 Mar;91(3):405-8.

The effect of intensified extracorporeal photochemotherapy on long-term survival in patients with severe acute graft-versus-host disease.

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Medical University of Vienna, Department of Internal Medicine I, Bone Marrow Transplantation, Austria.


Acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is a major cause of mortality after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. We performed a phase II study on patients with acute steroid-refractory GVHD grades II to IV given extracorporeal photochemotherapy (ECP) weekly and analyzed response and long-term survival. Complete resolution of GVHD was achieved in 82% of patients with cutaneous involvement, 61% with liver involvement, and 61% with gut involvement. The probability of survival was 59% among patients who responded completely to ECP compared to 11% in patients not responding completely. We conclude that intensified ECP is highly effective in acute GVHD and that sustained responses are associated with over 50% long-term survival.

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