Liver transplantation for severe hepatic graft-versus-host disease: an analysis of aggregate survival data

Liver Transpl. 2005 May;11(5):525-31. doi: 10.1002/lt.20389.


Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) often occurs after bone marrow transplantation (BMT). GVHD may lead to cirrhosis or complete destruction of the bile ducts, and few effective treatment options exist for such cases. Orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) has been described as an option, but to date the patient survival, graft survival, and GVHD recurrence rates after OLT have been unknown. Cases of OLT for GVHD were accumulated from several sources: (1) cases of OLT performed at a single institution, (2) the English-language medical literature, and (3) the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) liver transplant registry. Descriptive data were derived from pre- and post-OLT information; survival analysis was performed using the Kaplan-Meier method. One case of OLT for GVHD after BMT was found at our institution, and another 6 cases were previously reported in the literature. Extrahepatic GVHD recurred in 2 cases, but no recurrence of hepatic GVHD was reported. The UNOS registry contained an additional 73 patients who underwent OLT for hepatic GVHD. The 1- and 5-year actuarial patient survival rates were 72.4% and 62.9%, respectively. Although 4 patients required retransplantation, no deaths or retransplants were attributed to the recurrence of hepatic GVHD. OLT is an effective treatment for hepatic GVHD after BMT or non-liver organ transplant. Long-term disease-free survival is obtainable in these cases, and recurrence of hepatic GVHD has not been reported. These findings suggest that OLT should be considered as an effective treatment option for cases of hepatic GVHD recalcitrant to medical treatment.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Graft vs Host Disease / mortality*
  • Graft vs Host Disease / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Liver Transplantation / mortality*
  • Male
  • Registries
  • Severity of Illness Index