Cyclosporine A for the Prevention of Ocular Graft versus Host Disease in Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant Recipients Is Safe and Feasible

Acta Haematol. 2020;143(5):425-431. doi: 10.1159/000502405. Epub 2019 Sep 10.


Purpose: To evaluate the safety and efficacy of ocular cyclosporine in the prevention of the development of ocular graft versus host disease (oGVHD) in patients undergoing allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (AHSCT) in comparison with historic data.

Design: We developed a longitudinal, observational, prospective nonrandomized study. We evaluated the feasibility of prophylactic use of topical cyclosporine A (CsA) to prevent or decrease the incidence of oGVHD and compared this with historic data.

Methods: Patients undergoing AHSCT were treated with prophylactic topical CsA for 12 months after engraftment, followed by serial ophthalmic evaluations, including the Schirmer test.

Results: Twenty patients were included. No serious adverse effects were reported. Poor adherence was documented in 15% of patients. In spite of observing extra-ocular GVHD (acute and chronic GVHD incidence of 50 and 45%, respectively), only 1 in 20 patients developed oGVHD over the 20-month follow-up for the entire cohort. No statistically significant difference was observed in the incidence of oGVHD when compared to a historical cohort.

Conclusions: Topical CsA as a prophylactic measure for oGVHD, administered over a period of 1 year after grafting, is safe and feasible and may decrease the incidence of ophthalmic manifestations of GVHD. These findings must be confirmed in a randomized trial.

Keywords: Allogeneic transplantation; Cyclosporine A; Ocular graft versus host disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cyclosporine
  • Eye
  • Graft vs Host Disease*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies


  • Cyclosporine