Chronic GVHD is a significant complication following allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; however, the clinical characteristics of chronic GVHD following cord blood transplantation (CBT) in adults have not been well described. Between March 2001 and November 2005, a total of 77 patients underwent CBT at eight transplantation centers of the Nagoya Blood and Marrow Transplantation Group. Of 77 patients, 29 survived without graft failure or progression of underlying diseases for at least 100 days after transplantation. The median age of the 29 patients was 42 years (range, 18-67 years). Seven patients developed chronic GVHD (extensive, n = 4; limited, n = 3) disease. The cumulative incidence of chronic GVHD 1 year after day 100 was 24% (95% confidence interval (CI), 11-41%), and the organs involved were the skin (n = 6), oral cavity (n = 4), liver (n = 1) and gastrointestinal tract (n = 1). In three patients, chronic GVHD was resolved with supportive care. The remaining four were successfully treated with additional immunosuppressive therapy. Event-free survival rates of the 29 patients with and without chronic GVHD 3 years after day 100 were 83 (95% CI, 27-97%) and 36% (95% CI, 17-56%), respectively (P = 0.047). These results suggest that chronic GVHD following CBT is mild and has a graft-versus-malignancy effect.
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