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. 2003 Feb;31(3):175-81.
doi: 10.1038/sj.bmt.1703808.

Graft-versus-leukaemia Effect in Children: Chronic GVHD Has a Significant Impact on Relapse and Survival

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Graft-versus-leukaemia Effect in Children: Chronic GVHD Has a Significant Impact on Relapse and Survival

A Gustafsson Jernberg et al. Bone Marrow Transplant. .

Abstract

To examine whether graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD) is associated with a graft-versus-leukaemia (GVL) effect that also influences the outcome of allogeneic stem cell transplantation (SCT) in childhood acute leukaemia, we evaluated all consecutive (n=169) children who had undergone SCT for ALL and AML at our centre. Median follow-up was 7 years. The 5-year probability of chronic GVHD was 34%. Median time to relapse was 24 months in children with chronic GVHD and 6 months in those without. The corresponding 5-year probabilities of relapse were 30 and 45% (P=0.01). The 5-year probability of survival was 54%. Patients with chronic GVHD had a significantly better survival, 77 vs 51% (P=0.01). In a Cox regression model, chronic GVHD independently decreased the risk of relapse (RR 0.44) and further predicted an increased chance of relapse-free survival (RR 1.7) and survival (RR 2.6). The impact of chronic GVHD on survival was most apparent in late-stage disease and in ALL. Acute GVHD was not an independent predictor for relapse or death in this study. This study is in support of a GVL effect in childhood leukaemia related to chronic GVHD, reducing the risk of relapse and improving survival.

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