Treatment of Graft-Versus-Host Disease After Liver Transplantation with Basiliximab Followed by Bowel Resection


* Corresponding author: P. Gibbs,


Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) after orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) is a serious complication with mortality rates over 80%. Two patients with established GVHD after OLT were treated with Basiliximab, a chimeric murine human monoclonal antibody which binds to the alpha-chain of interleukin-2 receptor (IL-2R). Two males, aged 45 and 56 years, presented after OLT with a clinical picture consistent with GVHD. Quantitative measurements of recipient peripheral blood donor lymphocyte chimerism were carried out by flow cytometric analysis, and showed peak chimerism levels of 5% and 8%, respectively. Treatment comprised 3 doses of 1 g methyl prednisolone followed by 2 doses of 20 mg of Basiliximab. In both, treatment resulted in complete disappearance of macro-chimerism in blood. There was resolution of skin rash by day 7; however, diarrhea persisted. White cell scan showed increased uptake in the terminal ileum and small-bowel resection was performed in both patients. One patient is alive and well 36 months after OLT. The other patient had resolution of GVHD, but died of recurrent hepatitis C 1 year after OLT. The combination of immunological and surgical treatment for GVHD following solid organ transplantation has not previously been described.