We retrospectively analyzed 2682 patients who developed grade II-IV acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). On analysis with stratification into five age groups (20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59 and ≥ 60), 2-year non-relapse mortality rates (NRM) after the onset of GVHD were 20.7, 26.2, 26.6, 37.0 and 40.4%, respectively (p < 0.001). We found a significant interaction between the patient's age and GVHD severity with respect to NRM (p = 0.004). On multivariate analyses stratified by GVHD severity, the hazard ratio (HR) for NRM in the groups aged 50 years or more (reference: age group 20-29) was about twice as great in patients with grade II acute GVHD when compared with grade III-IV disease (HR in those aged 50-59 years: 2.9 for grade II and 1.5 [p = 0.03 and 0.04] for grades III-IV; HR if ≥ 60 years: 3.3 for grade II and 1.5 for grades III-IV [p < 0.001 for both]).
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