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Keywords:

  • steroid-refractory acute graft-versus-host disease;
  • graft-versus-host disease;
  • alemtuzumab;
  • Campath

Abstract

SR-aGVHD remains a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in allogeneic HCT recipients. Alemtuzumab has been used with success in adult patients but has not been studied in the pediatric setting. To estimate the effectiveness of alemtuzumab for the treatment of SR-aGVHD in pediatric patients, we retrospectively reviewed the charts of 19 patients (median age 4 yr, range 0.5–28 years) with grades II (n = 3), III (n = 10), or IV (n = 6) SR-aGVHD who received alemtuzumab treatment. Patients received a median dose of 0.9 mg/kg alemtuzumab (range 0.3–2 mg/kg) divided over 2–6 days. Eighty-nine percent of patients received additional courses. A complete response, defined as GVHD of grade 0 at four wk following the first alemtuzumab course, was observed in nine patients (47%). A partial response, defined as an improvement in grade after four wk, was observed in five patients (26%). There was no response in five patients (26%). The overall response rate at four wk was 73%. Infectious complications included bacteremia (47%), presumed or documented fungal infections (21%), adenovirus viremia (52%), EBV viremia (36%), and CMV viremia (36%). We conclude that alemtuzumab is effective for SR-aGVHD in pediatric patients with a tolerable spectrum of complications.