Graft-versus-host-induced cirrhosis: Possible mechanisms



A 28-yr-old woman with severe idiopathic aplastic anemia received an HLA-identical mixed lymphocyte culture nonreactive bone marrow transplant from her brother. In the months after successful engraftment, she developed cutaneous and hepatic graft-versus-host disease, associated with marked cholestatic jaundice. Despite a series of therapeutic maneuvers, cholestasis persisted but remained relative stable over the enuing 10 yr. However, serial liver biopsies revealed progressive biliary-type firbrosis culminating in cirrhosis. Subsequently, her clinical course deteriorated and she developed signs of hepatic failure, and ultimately died 10.5 yr after bone marrow transplantation. The evolution of chronic graftversus-host disease to cirrhosis may be a limiting factor in the long-term survival of this group of bone marrow transplant recipients. The lack of correlation between the stable clinical or biochemical indices and the progressive hepatic disease underscores the need for sequential liver biopsies in patients with sustained liver function abnormalities after bone marrow transplantation.