Initial therapy for chronic graft-versus-host disease: analysis of practice variation and failure-free survival

Joseph Pidala, Lynn Onstad, Paul J. Martin, Betty K. Hamilton, Corey Cutler, Carrie L. Kitko, Paul A. Carpenter, George L. Chen, Mukta Arora, Mary E.D. Flowers, Sally Arai, Amin Alousi, Jennifer White, David Jacobsohn, Iskra Pusic, Stephanie J. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Prior clinical trials largely considered prednisone 1 mg/kg per day with or without calcineurin inhibitor as standard initial therapy for chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD), but uncertainty remains regarding the extent of practice variation and whether this affects subsequent outcomes. We assembled a cohort of 745 patients with cGVHD treated with initial systemic immune suppressive (IS) therapy from 3 prior cGVHD Consortium observational studies. Initial therapy was defined as first IS therapy started for cGVHD or prednisone increased to $0.4 mg/kg per day from lower doses within 30 days before cGVHD diagnosis to any time afterward. Initial therapies were nonprednisone IS therapies (n 5 137, 18%), prednisone alone (n 5 411, 55%), or prednisone plus other IS therapy (n 5 197, 26%). In multivariate analysis, initial therapy group was not associated with failure-free survival (FFS; a composite of death, relapse, and new IS therapy), overall survival (OS), or nonrelapse mortality (NRM). Among the prednisone-based approaches, steroid dose was,0.25 (9%), 0.25 to 0.74 (36%), 0.75 to 1.25 (42%), or .1.25 mg/kg per day (13%). Prednisone dose within the patients treated with steroids was not significantly associated with FFS, OS, or NRM. No significant interactions were detected between overall cGVHD severity and either initial therapy group or prednisone dose for the outcomes of FFS, OS, or NRM. These observational data document heterogeneity in more contemporary cGVHD initial treatment practices, including prednisone dose and use of nonsteroid approaches. This variation was not associated with FFS, OS, or NRM. Prospective trials are needed to verify efficacy of reduced-dose prednisone or prednisone-free initial therapy approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4549-4559
Number of pages11
JournalBlood Advances
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 23 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Initial therapy for chronic graft-versus-host disease: analysis of practice variation and failure-free survival'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this