Chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD) is a long-term complication of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. The clinical importance of long-term corticosteroid dependency in steroid-responsive cGVHD is undetermined. We retrospectively reviewed the data of 120 consecutive patients who received systemic steroid therapy for cGVHD between January 2007 and December 2018 at three institutions. Among patients with steroid-responsive cGVHD, those who successfully tapered off corticosteroids within 1 year were defined as the early withdrawal group (EW-cGVHD) and others were defined as the dependent group (Dp-cGVHD). Twenty-six patients were classified as EW-cGVHD and 55 as Dp-cGVHD. The proportion of men was significantly higher and performance status was significantly better in EW-cGVHD. The 5-year overall survival and cGVHD recurrence-free survival rates were significantly higher in EW-cGVHD than Dp-cGVHD (96% vs. 68%, p = 0.017 and 84% vs. 41%, p = 0.002, respectively). While the relapse-free survival rate did not differ significantly (84% vs. 65%, p = 0.15), the proportion of patients requiring readmission, mainly due to cGVHD recurrence or infection, was significantly increased in Dp-cGVHD (38% vs. 84%, p < 0.001). In summary, steroid dependency in cGVHD for more than 1 year was significantly associated with poor transplant outcomes.
- 1-year steroid treatment
- Chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD)
- Steroid dependency
- cGVHD recurrences
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