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Turkish Journal of Cancer
2003, Volume 33, Number 1, Page(s) 9-22
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Chronic graft-versus-host disease after allogeneic stem cell transplantation
EMİN KANSU1, YENER KOÇ1, KEITH M. SULLIVAN2
1Hematopoistic Stem Cell Transplantation Unit, Institute of Oncology, Hacettepe University Faculty of Medicine, Ankara-Turkey
2Department of Transplantation and Medical Oncology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C.-U.S.A

Chronic Graft-versus-Host disease (chronic GVHD) is a clinicopathological syndrome which is the major determinant of long-term outcome and quality of life after allogeneic bone marrow or peripheral stem cell transplantation. Chronic GVHD may develop within 3 to 18 months after allografting and occurs in approximately 33% of HLAidentical sibling recipients and 50-70% of recipients of unrelated or mismatched-related marrow grafts. Individuals with the limited chronic GVHD have a favorable course and patients with extensive chronic GVHD have an unfavorable natural history. Chronic GVHD is a pleiotropic disease with clinical and pathological signs and symptoms similar to several naturally occurring autoimmune disorders. Organ involvement in extensive chronic GVHD affects the skin, mouth, eyes, sinuses, gastrointestinal tract, lungs, muscles, tendons, serous surfaces and nerves. Owing to the prolonged time to immunological recovery sinopulmonary infections may be common in patients with chronic GVHD. In standard-risk chronic GVHD patients early treatment with prednisone and cyclosporine has better results in high-risk patients. New treatment approaches include the use of FK506, thalidomide, mycophenolate mofetil, rapamycin and extracorporeal photopheresis. Supportive care includes correction of hypogammaglobulinemia and administration of antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection.

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