The safety and potential efficacy of FK506 in combination with a short course of methotrexate (MTX) for the prevention of acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) after marrow transplantation from HLA-matched unrelated donors was evaluated in a single-arm Phase II study conducted at two centers. Forty-three patients, 15 to 54 (median 41) years of age, were transplanted for hematologic malignancies. Thirty-seven of 43 evaluable patients had evidence of sustained marrow engraftment. Five patients died before day 17 after transplantation. The median time to an absolute neutrophil count of > 0.5 x 10(5)/L was 21 (range, 14 to 30) days. Nephrotoxicity (serum creatinine concentration > 2 mg/dL or doubling of baseline) occurred in 32 patients (74% cumulative incidence during the first 100 days after transplant). Other adverse effects included hypertension (n = 27), hyperglycemia (n = 27), neurotoxicity (n = 9) and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (n = 2). Severe veno-occlusive disease of the liver occurred in 9 (21%) of the 43 patients. Eighteen patients (42%) developed grades II to IV acute GVHD and five (12%) developed grades III to IV acute GVHD. Twelve of 25 evaluable patients developed extensive chronic GVHD within 1 year of marrow transplantation resulting in an estimate of the probability of developing this complication of 48%. The cumulative incidence of transplant-related mortality during the first 100 days was 37%. Kaplan-Meier estimates of disease-free survival at 2 years for good-risk, poor-risk, and all patients were 65%, 4%, and 32%, respectively. FK506 in combination with a short course of MTX appears active in preventing acute GVHD after marrow transplantation from unrelated donors. Further studies comparing the combination of FK506 and MTX with cyclosporine and MTX for the prevention of acute GVHD are warranted.

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