Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) has been widely used for the treatment of hematologic malignant and non-malignant hematologic diseases and other diseases. However, acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is a life-threatening complication of allogeneic transplantation. Acute GVHD may occur in 30% of transplant recipients, which is a syndrome of erythematous skin eruption, cholestatic liver disease and intestinal dysfunction, resulting from the activation of donor T lymphocytes by host antigen-presenting cells, resulting in an immune-mediated inflammatory response. Recent scientific advances in the understanding of the pathogenesis involved in the development of acute GVHD and clinical investigation have provided more effective therapeutic strategies for acute GVHD. This review focuses on major scientific and clinical advances in the treatment of acute GVHD.