Seventy-five patients, 13 to 49 years of age, with acute nonlymphoblastic leukemia in first remission were treated with cyclophosphamide, fractionated total body irradiation, and marrow transplantation from an HLA-identical sibling and randomized to receive either cyclosporine (CSP) (n = 36) or methotrexate (MTX) (n = 39) as prophylaxis for graft-v-host disease (GVHD). All patients engrafted, and 22 who were given CSP and 21 who were given MTX, are alive at 20 to 47 (median, 35) months (P = .5). Engraftment as assessed by granulocyte recovery (P less than .0005) and platelet transfusion requirement (P = .01) was faster in patients on CSP. Twelve patients (33%) on CSP and 22 (56%) on MTX developed acute GVHD of grades II through IV (P = .07) and 15 of 30 on CSP and 14 of 32 on MTX that were at risk developed chronic GVHD. The most frequent causes of death were interstitial pneumonitis and marrow relapse of leukemia, which occurred with similar frequency in both groups. Beneficial effects observed in patients on CSP included less severe mucositis and shorter duration of hospitalization; adverse effects included renal function impairment and hypertension. These data confirm that CSP is a useful immunosuppressant in patients undergoing marrow transplantation but fail to show a significant improvement in survival as compared with the standard regimen of MTX.

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