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Bone Marrow Transplant. 1998 Jan;21(1):29-32.

Soluble interleukin-2 receptor serum levels after allogeneic bone marrow transplantations as a marker for GVHD.

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Bone Marrow Transplantation Unit, University Hospital Hamburg Eppendorf, Germany.


Acute GVHD (aGVHD) is one of the major problems after allogeneic BMT. The diagnosis of aGVHD is difficult to establish, relying mainly on clinical evaluations and symptoms of aGVHD, often resembling those of organ toxicity, infection or drug rash. In 21 patients after BMT several serum cytokine levels (soluble interleukin-2 receptor (sIL-2R), sTNF-R, SCF, IL-6, IL-8, G-SCF and ICAM-1) were determined in order to evaluate their value as an indicator for aGVHD. The maximum levels of sIL-2R (and none of the other evaluated cytokines) correlated significantly (r = 0.8, P = 0.008) with the severity of aGVHD. We also found a significant correlation between the day of engraftment (neutrophil count >0.5 x 10(9)/l) and the severity of aGVHD (r = 0.5, P = 0.03): engraftment was earlier in patients without aGVHD (median of day 11) than in those with aGVHD (median of day 18). No correlation between sIL-2R and fever or organ toxicity could be found. Our data suggest that the sIL-2R level might be an indicator for aGVHD, reflecting the severity of the disease. In patients with late engraftment the risk of aGVHD seems to be increased, therefore these patients especially should be monitored closely, possibly using sIL-2R levels.

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