Certain types of graft-versus-host disease may increase risk of death, researcher says

Joseph Pidala, M.D., M.S., assistant member of the Blood and Bone Marrow Transplant and Immunology programs at Moffitt Cancer Center, and colleagues from the Chronic Graft-Versus-Host Disease Consortium have determined that certain gastrointestinal and liver-related types of chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) are associated with worsened quality of life and death.

Their study appeared in the May issue of Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation, the official journal of the American Society for Blood and .

GVHD is a complication that can occur when a transplant patient receives or bone marrow from a donor. The transplanted cells regard the recipient's body as foreign and attack, causing symptoms ranging from nausea and skin rashes to fatigue and pain. Patients with GVHD are prescribed drugs to suppress their immune system to counteract the disease.

The researchers studied data from 567 patients to determine if the characteristics and symptoms of chronic GVHD were associated with major clinical outcomes, such as quality of life and death. They looked specifically at the site of involvement and liver abnormalities.

"We found important differences in outcomes in relation to gastrointestinal and liver involvement," Pidala said. "Those with elevated bilirubin (a substance in bile) levels, higher gastrointestinal scores, or lower gastrointestinal involvement had an increased risk of death under current treatment approaches."

The authors concluded that their findings will help physicians better define a patient's risk of complications and death after chronic GVHD diagnosis and treatment.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Groundbreaking study that may change transplant practices

Nov 20, 2012

Researchers from John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center, one of the nation's 50 best cancer centers, played an important role in a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Oct ...

B cell survival holds key to chronic graft vs. host disease

Aug 16, 2012

Leukemia and lymphoma patients who receive life-saving stem cell or bone marrow transplants often experience chronic side effects that significantly decrease quality of life, can last a lifetime, and ultimately affect their ...

Recommended for you

Swatting chikungunya

34 minutes ago

Summer days may be waning, but health officials are still on high alert for new cases of chikungunya, a painful mosquito-borne virus that spread to the United States from the tropics earlier this year. ...

Sierra Leone readies for controversial Ebola lockdown

44 minutes ago

Sierra Leone prepared Thursday for an unprecedented three-day nationwide lockdown to contain the deadly spread of the Ebola virus in a controversial move which experts claimed could worsen the epidemic.

Nepal adopts jab to boost polio fight

1 hour ago

Nepal on Thursday launched a drive to eradicate polio by supplementing oral vaccines with an injection that experts say will boost children's immunity against the disease.

User comments