Abstract

Optimal prophylaxis of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is controversial. We compared efficacy of three posttransplant immune suppressive regimens in 2,286 recipients of HLA-identical sibling bone marrow transplants for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in first remission, acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) in first remission, or chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) in first chronic phase. Six hundred forty received methotrexate, 977 received cyclosporine, and 669 received combined cyclosporine and methotrexate. In children, the three regimens resulted in similar outcomes. In adults, cyclosporine and methotrexate had comparable risks of acute and chronic GVHD. Compared with methotrexate, cyclosporine was associated with less interstitial pneumonia (relative risk [RR] = 0.6; P < .001), less treatment-related mortality (RR = 0.6; P < .001), more relapses (RR = 1.6; P < .05), and less treatment failure (relapse or death from any cause; RR = 0.7; P < .001). Different effects were observed in different leukemias. In ALL, the rate of leukemia relapse was increased with cyclosporine versus methotrexate, with no effect on other outcomes. In AML and CML, interstitial pneumonia, treatment-related mortality, and treatment failures were decreased with cyclosporine, with no increase in relapse. Similar analyses comparing cyclosporine plus methotrexate with cyclosporine alone showed that adults receiving the combination had less acute GVHD (RR = 0.5; P < .001), less chronic GVHD (RR = 0.7; P < .01), and less interstitial pneumonia (RR = 0.7; P < .001). Treatment failure (RR = 0.8; P < .05) was marginally reduced. Separate analyses in ALL and AML showed less acute GVHD with combined therapy, but no significant effect on other outcomes. In CML, acute GVHD, interstitial pneumonia, treatment-related mortality, and treatment failure were decreased with combined therapy.

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