Author Affiliation: Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation Program, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas.
Contempo Updates Section Editor: Catherine
Meyer, MD, Fishbein Fellow.
Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) is a treatment used
increasingly for a variety of malignant and nonmalignant diseases of the bone
marrow and immune system.1 Although the procedure
cures many patients with otherwise incurable diseases, it is often associated
with serious immunological complications, particularly graft-vs-host disease
(GVHD).2 A chronic form of GVHD afflicts many
allogeneic HCT recipients, resulting in dysfunction of numerous organ systems
and an oftentimes profound state of immunodeficiency.3- 5 Chronic
GVHD is the most frequent cause of poor long-term outcome and quality of life
after allogeneic HCT. The syndrome typically develops several months after
transplantation, when the patient may no longer be under the direct care of
the transplant team. The patient's primary physician plays an important role
in diagnosis and treatment of the patient with chronic GVHD.
Bhushan V, Collins, Jr RH. Chronic Graft-vs-Host Disease. JAMA. 2003;290(19):2599-2603. doi:10.1001/jama.290.19.2599