Increased efficacy of dual pro-inflammatory cytokine blockade on acute GVHD while maintaining GVT effects

Blood. 2021 Aug 23;blood.2021011216. doi: 10.1182/blood.2021011216. Online ahead of print.


Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT) remains a potential curative option for treating a variety of hematologic diseases, but acute and chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) remain major barriers limiting efficacy. Acute gut GVHD occurs with marked increases in pro-inflammatory cytokines (including TNF and IL-6), which we recently demonstrated was exacerbated in obesity resulting in severe gastrointestinal pathology. Given the pleiotropic and overlapping effects of these two cytokines, we assessed the impact of dual TNF and IL-6R blockade on GVHD as well as graft-versus tumor (GVT) effects in different mouse GVHD models. Early administration of combined blockade resulted in greater protection and survival from acute gut GVHD compared to single blockade regimens and even development of later chronic skin GVHD. Importantly, double cytokine blockade preserved GVT effects reinforcing that GVT and GVHD can be delineated and may result in greater efficacy in allo-HSCT.