Increasingly frequent diagnosis of acute gastrointestinal graft-versus-host disease after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation

Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2004 May;10(5):320-7. doi: 10.1016/j.bbmt.2003.12.304.


The reported incidence of grades II to IV acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) after hematopoietic cell transplantation with HLA-identical sibling donors has increased considerably during the past 15 to 20 years at our center. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the potential reasons for this change. We reviewed organ stages and overall grades of GVHD for 2220 patients who received a first marrow or peripheral blood cell transplant from an HLA-identical sibling or an HLA-allele-matched unrelated donor with the use of a posttransplantation immunosuppressive regimen that included both methotrexate and cyclosporine between 1985 and 2001. The most striking change was an increased incidence of stage 1 gut involvement from 10% to 20% before 1992 to 50% to 60% since 1992, both with related and unrelated donors. This change increased the incidence of grade II GVHD with sibling donors, such that the overall incidence of grade II to IV GVHD is now 60% to 70%. Among patients with chronic myeloid leukemia in chronic phase, the increasingly frequent diagnosis of acute GVHD since 1992 has not been associated with decreased survival. A high diagnostic sensitivity and increased awareness that gut GVHD can occur without skin involvement account for the increased incidence of acute GVHD at our center.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / etiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / mortality
  • Graft vs Host Disease / diagnosis
  • Graft vs Host Disease / epidemiology
  • Graft vs Host Disease / etiology*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / methods
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / mortality
  • Histocompatibility Testing
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parenteral Nutrition / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Siblings
  • Survival Rate
  • Time
  • Transplantation, Homologous


  • Immunosuppressive Agents