Imatinib for refractory chronic graft-versus-host disease with fibrotic features

Attilio Olivieri, Franco Locatelli, Marco Zecca, Adele Sanna, Michele Cimminiello, Roberto Raimondi, Guido Gini, Nicola Mordini, Adriana Balduzzi, Pietro Leoni, Armando Gabrielli, Andrea Bacigalupo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We previously reported that patients with fibrotic, chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD) have antibodies activating the platelet-derived growth factor receptor pathway. Because this pathway can be inhibited by imatinib, we performed a pilot study including 19 patients with refractory cGVHD, given imatinib at a starting dose of 100 mg per day. All patients had active cGVHD with measurable involvement of skin or other districts and had previously failed at least 2 treatment lines. Patient median age was 29 years (range, 10-62 years), and median duration of cGvHD was 37 months (range, 4-107 months). The organs involved were skin (n = 17), lung (n = 11), and bowel (n = 5); 15 patients had sicca syndrome. Imatinib-related, grade 3 to 4 toxicity included fluid retention, infections, and anemia. Imatinib was discontinued in 8 patients: in 3 because of toxicity and in 5 because of lack of response (n = 3) or relapse of malignancy (n = 2). Overall response rate at 6 months was 79%, with 7 complete remissions (CRs) and 8 partial remissions (PRs). With a median follow-up of 17 months, 16 patients are alive, 14 still in CR or PR. The 18-month probability of overall survival is 84%. This study suggests that imatinib is a promising treatment for patients with refractory fibrotic cGVHD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)709-718
Number of pages10
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Immunology


Dive into the research topics of 'Imatinib for refractory chronic graft-versus-host disease with fibrotic features'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this