Chronic graft-vs-host disease (GVHD) is the most common complication of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Patients with chronic GVHD can hahe infections and a variety of compications due to multiple abnormalities of their reconstructed immune systems. Infection is the most common cause of death in patients with chronic GVHD. Chronic GHVD may also compromise a patient's quality of life as a result of long-term immunosuppressive therapy and the symptoms of GVHD itself. Chronic GVHD is the major determinant in the survival and quality of life of patients after allogeneic HSCT.
The primary strategy to prevent GVHD is the use of cyclosporine and tacrolimus in combination with other immunosuppressants. Despite these prophylactic therapies, GVHD still develops in 30%-80% of patients. One of the newer potentially promising agents is Gleevec. It is especially attractive for patients transplaned for CML or Philadelphia chromosome positive ALL, where Gleevec has an anti leukemia effect as well.
Magro L, Catteau B, Coiteux V, Bruno B, Jouet JP, Yakoub-Agha I. Efficacy of imatinib mesylate in the treatment of refractory sclerodermatous chronic GVHD.Bone Marrow Transplant. 2008 Dec;42(11):757-60.
IJuan A. Moreno-Romero, MD; Francesc Fernández-Avilés, MD; Enric Carreras, MD; Montserrat Rovira, MD; Carmen Martínez, MD; José M. Mascaró Jr, MD Imatinib as a Potential Treatment for Sclerodermatous Chronic Graft-vs-Host Disease Arch Dermatol. 2008;144(9):1106-1109.