Narrowband ultraviolet B phototherapy for the treatment of steroid-refractory and steroid-dependent acute graft-versus-host disease of the skin

Jonathan V. Feldstein, Javier Bolaños-Meade, Viki L. Anders, Rachel Abuav

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Acute graft-versus-host disease (aGvHD) is a common complication of allogeneic stem cell transplantation. It is usually treated with high doses of corticosteroids and other immunosuppressive agents. When cutaneous features are predominant, narrowband ultraviolet B (NB-UVB) phototherapy may be an attractive option for its steroid-sparing effect. Objective: We sought to examine the clinical efficacy of NB-UVB in the treatment of steroid-refractory and steroid-dependent cutaneous aGvHD. Methods: We conducted a retrospective chart review of patients with steroid-refractory and steroid-dependent aGvHD, who received NB-UVB between 2005 and 2009 at our institution. Results: We identified 14 patients with aGvHD treated with NB-UVB between 2005 and 2009. The median number of treatments was 15, administered over a median of 43 days. Eight of 14 patients (57%) achieved a complete response at the end of treatment; an additional 3 patients (21%) achieved a partial response; and 3 patients (21%) showed no improvement at the time when phototherapy was discontinued (nonresponders). Four patients developed chronic graft-versus-host disease (GvHD). Three of the 8 complete responders remained free of GvHD at 6 months' follow-up. Limitations: The rarity of steroid-refractory aGvHD limited the study to a small number of participants. Because GvHD is variable in its presentation and course, and life-threatening in many cases, large controlled prospective trials for potential therapies are difficult. Conclusions: NB-UVB is a viable option for the treatment of steroid-refractory and steroid-dependent aGvHD of the skin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)733-738
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Volume65
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2011

Keywords

  • graft-versus-host disease
  • narrowband ultraviolet B
  • phototherapy
  • skin
  • steroid-refractory
  • ultraviolet light

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology

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