Forty adults aged 28 to 73 years were entered into a prospective trial of imatinib for the treatment of steroid-refractory chronic graft-versus-host disease (SR-cGVHD). After 6 months, intention-to-treat (ITT) analysis of 39 patients who received the drug, regardless of the duration of treatment, revealed 14 partial responses (PR), 4 minor responses (MR) with relevant steroid sparing (46%) according to Couriel criteria, and 20 ≥ PR (51.3%), as per the National Institutes of Health (NIH) criteria and NIH severity score changes. The best responses were seen in the lungs, gut, and skin (35%, 50%, and 32%, respectively). After a median follow-up of 40 months, 28 patients were alive, with a 3-year overall survival (OS) and event-free survival of 72% and 46%, respectively. The 3-year OS was 94% for patients responding at 6 months and 58% for nonresponders according to NIH response, suggesting that these criteria represent a reliable tool for predicting OS after second-line treatment. Monitoring of anti-platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGF-R) antibodies showed a significant decrease in PDGF-R stimulatory activity in 7 responders, whereas it remained high in 4 nonresponders. This study confirms the efficacy of imatinib against SR-cGVHD and suggests that the response at 6 months significantly predicts long-term survival.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology