New and emerging therapies for acute and chronic graft versus host disease

Ther Adv Hematol. 2018 Jan;9(1):21-46. doi: 10.1177/2040620717741860. Epub 2017 Nov 28.


Graft versus host disease (GVHD) remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality following allogeneic hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT). Despite the use of prophylactic GVHD regimens, a significant proportion of transplant recipients will develop acute or chronic GVHD following HSCT. Corticosteroids are standard first-line therapy, but are only effective in roughly half of all cases with ~50% of patients going on to develop steroid-refractory disease, which increases the risk of nonrelapse mortality. While progress has been made with improvements in survival outcomes over time, corticosteroids are associated with significant toxicities, and many currently available salvage therapies are associated with increased immunosuppression, infectious complications, and potential loss of the graft versus leukemia (GVL) effect. Thus, there is an unmet need for development of newer treatment strategies for both acute and chronic GVHD to improve long-term post-transplant outcomes and quality of life for HSCT recipients. Here, we provide a concise review of major emerging therapies currently being studied in the treatment of acute and chronic GVHD.

Keywords: GVHD; acute graft versus host disease; allogeneic stem-cell transplantation; chronic graft versus host disease.

Publication types

  • Review