Does early treatment with high-dose methylprednisolone alter the course of hepatic regimen-related toxicity?

H. Khoury, D. Adkins, R. Brown, K. Trinkaus, R. Vij, G. Miller, L. T. Goodnough, J. DiPersio

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37 Scopus citations


Hepatic regimen-related toxicity (RRT) is a serious complication of stem cell transplantation. Cytokine activation may be involved in the pathogenesis. Corticosteroids are potent inhibitors of cytokine production, and, therefore could play a role in the treatment of hepatic RRT. Between January 1994 and June 1998, 28 of 782 consecutive transplant patients (3.6%) developed hepatic RRT (20 veno-occlusive disease (VOD) and eight liver dysfunction of uncertain etiology (LDUE) as defined by Seattle criteria), and were treated with high-dose methylprednisolone (MP, 500 mg/m2 i.v. every 12 h for six doses), initiated upon increase in serum total bilirubin to ≥ 4 mg/dl. Other causes of liver dysfunction were excluded. Response to therapy with high-dose MP was defined as reduction in total bilirubin by 50% within 10 days of initiation of MP. Overall, 17 patients (61%) responded to treatment (12 patients with VOD, five patients with LDUE). The bilirubin in responding patients decreased from a mean of 8.6 mg/dl (range, 4-17.9) at the start of MP to 4.1 mg/dl (range, 0.5-17.9) 10 days later. There were no statistically significant differences between responders and non-responders in the day treatment with high-dose MP was initiated (P = 0.38), total serum bilirubin (P = 0.17) and percent weight gain at the time high-dose MP was started (P = 0.10) or the calculated probability of fatal outcome from VOD (18% for responders, 23% for non-responders; P = 0.30). A lower pre-transplant DLCOc was observed among non-responders (P = 0.04). At 100 days posttransplant, hepatic RRT resolved in all 13 survivors who responded to high-dose MP, and in one nonresponding patient. No serious toxicities due to high-dose MP were observed. We conclude that resolution of hepatic RRT occurred in the majority of patients treated with high-dose MP in this study; however, randomized controlled trials are required to determine the efficacy of high-dose MP for treatment of hepatic RRT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)737-743
Number of pages7
JournalBone Marrow Transplantation
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2000


  • BMT
  • Hepatic toxicity
  • High-dose steroids


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