Pro-inflammatory (IL-6, TNFalpha and IL-8) and anti-inflammatory (IL-10) cytokines were determined in weekly samples from 52 patients undergoing allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). IL-6 increased immediately after transplant peaking at week +3, but IL-8 concentrations were elevated only during week +1. After a slight decrease in week +1, TNF-alpha significantly increased from week +2 and peaked at week +3, whereas, IL-10 values started to rise in week +2 and peaked during week +4. IL-6 and TNF-alpha were positively correlated from week +2 to week +4, and IL-6 levels at week +1 were related with fever and severe stomatitis. Serum levels of IL-6 at week +1 and IL-10 at week +4 were significantly higher in patients with early transplant-related complications, such as fever, severe stomatitis or acute GVHD > or = overall grade II than in those without the complications. We conclude that a high serum IL-6 level at week +1 may be an early predictor of transplant-related complications and that it seems to trigger pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine release. Kinetic patterns of IL-6 and IL-10 were more exaggerated in those with complications after HSCT.