Novel treatment concepts for graft-versus-host disease.

Wolf D, von Lilienfeld-Toal M, Wolf AM, Schleuning M, von Bergwelt-Baildon M, Held SA, Brossart P (2012) Novel treatment concepts for graft-versus-host disease. Blood 119(1), 16-25.


Acute and chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) are potentially lethal complications after stem cell transplantation (SCT). Steroids are the appropriate first-line treatment for both. However, if patients do not adequately benefit from steroid therapy, mortality is high and standardized treatment algorithms are lacking. This is mainly because of limited data from prospective, randomized clinical trials. In addition, most of the available treatment options only induce clinical benefits in a limited proportion of patients. Thus, there is an urgent clinical need to develop more potent immunosuppressive treatment strategies for patients suffering from acute or chronic steroid-refractory GVHD while maintaining the graft versus tumor effect to avoid a potential rise in relapse-related mortality. The increasing knowledge about host- as well as donor-derived variables favoring GVHD development and the increasing armamentarium of immune-modulatory agents entering preclinical and clinical research will probably allow more effective treatment of GVHD in the future. This review describes novel developments in the treatment of steroid-refractory GVHD, with a special focus on the rationale behind promising pharmacologic compounds or up-coming cellular therapies.


Marie von Lilienfeld-Toal


doi: 10.1182/blood-2011-08-339465

PMID: 21948301