Diagnosis and treatment of pulmonary chronic GVHD: report from the consensus conference on clinical practice in chronic GVHD

Bone Marrow Transplant. 2011 Oct;46(10):1283-95. doi: 10.1038/bmt.2011.35. Epub 2011 Mar 28.


This consensus statement established under the auspices of the German working group on BM and blood stem cell transplantation (DAG-KBT), the German Society of Hematology and Oncology (DGHO), the Austrian Stem Cell Transplant Working Group, the Swiss Blood Stem Cell Transplantation Group (SBST) and the German-Austrian Pediatric Working Group on SCT (Päd-Ag-KBT) summarizes current evidence for diagnosis, immunosuppressive and supportive therapy to provide practical guidelines for the care and treatment of patients with pulmonary manifestations of chronic GVHD (cGVHD). Pulmonary cGVHD can present with obstructive and/or restrictive changes. Disease severity ranges from subclinical pulmonary function test (PFT) impairment to respiratory insufficiency with bronchiolitis obliterans being the only pulmonary complication currently considered diagnostic of cGVHD. Early diagnosis may improve clinical outcome, and regular post-transplant follow-up PFTs are recommended. Diagnostic work-up includes high-resolution computed tomography, bronchoalveolar lavage and histology. Topical treatment is based on inhalative steroids plus beta-agonists. Early addition of azithromycin is suggested. Systemic first-line treatment consists of corticosteroids plus, if any, continuation of other immunosuppressive therapy. Second-line therapy and beyond includes extracorporeal photopheresis, mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitors, mycophenolate, etanercept, imatinib and TLI, but efficacy is limited. Clinical trials are urgently needed to improve understanding and treatment of this deleterious complication.

Publication types

  • Consensus Development Conference
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Graft vs Host Disease / diagnosis*
  • Graft vs Host Disease / pathology
  • Graft vs Host Disease / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Pulmonary Ventilation
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Stem Cell Transplantation