Histological correlation between different centers using the skin explant model to predict graft-versus-host disease following bone marrow transplantation

Hum Immunol. 2001 Nov;62(11):1277-81. doi: 10.1016/s0198-8859(01)00318-4.


Acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) remains the major complication of allogeneic stem cell transplantation (SCT) with an incidence of 40-60% and a mortality of up to 50%. Several assays have been developed to try to predict the development of GVHD including the mixed lymphocyte culture reaction, cytotoxic and helper T lymphocyte precursor frequency assays. In the Northern region of England we have used an in vitro skin explant model for predicting GVHD in MHC compatible bone marrow transplant recipients since 1988. The aims of the present study was to test the reproducibility of the model in two other bone marrow transplant centers in Europe. The assay consists of incubating patient skin explants with effector cells from mixed donor versus recipient lymphocyte cultures and the subsequent detection of graft-versus-host reactions by histopathological grading (0-IV) of the skin explants. 503 slides from 134 patients were evaluated. All were graded for negative GVHR grade 0-I or positive grade II-IV. Results from control and test slides significantly correlated between centers to the p value of 0.0001 by Fisher's exact probability test. These results show that the skin explant assay is reproducible between centers and supports the continued use of the assay to predict GVHD in allogeneic stem cell transplant recipients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Graft vs Host Disease / diagnosis*
  • Graft vs Host Disease / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Skin / pathology*