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Extracorporeal photochemotherapy for treatment of drug-resistant graft-vs.-host disease.

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1
University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison 53792, USA.

Abstract

Extracorporeal photochemotherapy (EP) is a therapeutic approach to the treatment of drug-resistant graft-vs.-host disease (GVHD) that uses the known immunosuppressive and immunomodulatory effects of ultraviolet light. In 1990, we initiated a pilot study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of EP in patients with refractory GVHD. Between 1991 and 1996, six patients with acute grade IV liver GVHD, 12 patients with chronic following acute GVHD, and six patients with de novo chronic GVHD were treated with EP. All patients had failed to respond to conventional GVHD immunosuppressive drug therapy of cyclosporine and prednisone. The six patients with acute liver GVHD had also received antithymocyte globulin (ATG); therapy for chronic GVHD included thalidomide in eight patients, psoralen plus ultraviolet A in five patients, and ATG in two patients. All patients with acute liver GVHD had progressive liver failure with short survival despite frequent EP. The response rate with EP treatment was 3 of 6 for patients with de novo chronic GVHD and 3 of 12 for patients with chronic following acute GVHD. Three patients with bronchiolitis obliterans had either no response or no documented disease progression while undergoing EP. Side effects of EP were minor and included gastrointestinal upset frequently, catheter-related sepsis in four patients, increased red blood cell and platelet transfusion requirements in one patient, and leukopenia in two patients. EP was discontinued in three patients because of side effects, including GI upset in one patient and bone marrow suppression in two patients. Side effects were reversible with the discontinuation of EP. We were unable to correlate response to EP with the level of methoxypsoralen, number of lymphocytes treated, or pattern of pre- and posttreatment CD4/CD8 ratio. We concluded that EP has some efficacy in the treatment of drug-resistant chronic GVHD, with minor overall toxicity.

PMID:
9701389
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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