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Cutaneous Graft versus Host Disease in Pediatric Multivisceral Transplantation


Address correspondence to M. Feito Rodríguez, M.D., Department of Dermatology, Hospital Universitario La Paz, Paseo de la Castellana 261, 28046 Madrid, Spain, or e-mail:


Abstract:  Multivisceral transplantation (MvTx) is the concurrent transplantation of the stomach, pancreaticoduodenal complex, and intestine, with or without the liver. Its use is increasing worldwide as it has been considered as a therapy for patients with functional disturbance of several organs. Graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) has been a relevant clinical problem in MvTx ever since the procedure was first performed, but little has been reported about its specific cutaneous features. Our study included all pediatric patients with clinical and histopathologic evidence of cutaneous GvHD who received MvTx between October 1999 and December 2010 in University Hospital La Paz. Seventeen children underwent MvTx at our center during this period of time. Five patients developed cutaneous GvHD (29.4%). The median onset was 45.2 days after transplantation. Acute cutaneous GvHD, consisting of symmetrical maculopapular exanthema with prominent acral erythema and accentuated lesions on the face and pinnae, was clinically suspected and pathologically confirmed in four patients (80%). Three children (60%) experienced disease progression to a formation and a positive Nikolsky sign. Only one girl (20%) showed lichenoid GvHD. The first therapeutic approach was steroids and tacrolimus adjustment; many other drugs were used in refractory cases. Three of the five patients (60%) died with concomitant GvHD, the immediate cause of death being another comorbid disease. Knowledge of the features of cutaneous GvHD in MvTx allows clinicians early recognition and prompt therapeutic intervention that may prevent progression to higher-grade disease and improve outcomes for these patients.