Antithymocyte globulin for acute-graft-versus-host-disease prophylaxis in patients undergoing allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation: A systematic review

Center and Division for Evidence Based Medicine and Health Outcomes Research, Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33612, USA.
Leukemia: official journal of the Leukemia Society of America, Leukemia Research Fund, U.K (Impact Factor: 10.43). 12/2011; 26(4):582-8. DOI: 10.1038/leu.2011.349
Source: PubMed


Graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD) is a major complication associated with allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT). Antithymocyte globulin (ATG) is recommended for GVHD prophylaxis following allo-HCT, however, evidence on efficacy of ATG is conflicting. Accordingly, we undertook a systematic review. All phase III randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing ATG versus control for prevention of GVHD in patients undergoing allo-HCT were eligible. Medline and Cochrane databases were searched. Data on methodological quality, benefits and harms were extracted for each trial and pooled under a random effects model. Seven RCTs enrolling 733 patients met inclusion criteria. Pooled results showed no difference for overall survival with use of ATG (hazard ratio was 0.91; 95% confidence intervals (CI), 0.75-1.10; P = 0.32). There was a significant benefit for prevention of grade III/IV acute GVHD (risk ratio (RR) = 0.51; 95% CI, 0.27-0.94; P = 0.03). There was no benefit associated with ATG use for prevention of either grade II (RR = 0.79; 95% CI, 0.48-1.30; P = 0.35) or grade I acute GVHD (RR = 1.42; 95% CI, 0.75-2.69; P = 0.28). Use of ATG was not associated with significant reduction in non-relapse mortality (RR = 0.74; 95% CI, 0.53-1.03; P = 0.08). Future trials with adequate sample size are required to provide more definitive answers.

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    • "Approaches for the prevention of acute GVHD have utilized donor T cell depletion from the graft prior to infusion since 1980s [1, 53–55], by using physical techniques, density gradient centrifugation, anti-thymocyte globulin [56–59] or monoclonal antibody-based depletion methods, and CD34-cell-positive selection, et al. However, this approach is associated with a higher risk of graft rejection, impaired immune reconstitution, infectious complications, and relapse, and increased risk of primary disease relapse after HCT [60, 61]. "
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    ABSTRACT: 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.
    Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine 06/2013; 17(8). DOI:10.1111/jcmm.12093 · 4.01 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is an established treatment for many malignant and non-malignant haematological disorders. Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), a condition frequently occurring after HSCT, is the result of host tissues being attacked by donor immune cells. One strategy for the prevention of GVHD is the administration of anti-thymocyte globulins (ATG), a set of polyclonal antibodies directed against a variety of immune cell epitopes, leading to immunosuppression and immunomodulation. To assess the effect of ATG used for the prevention of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) in patients undergoing allogeneic HSCT with regard to overall survival, incidence and severity of acute and chronic GVHD, incidence of relapse, incidence of infectious complications, non-relapse mortality, early mortality within 100 days of transplantation, progression-free survival, quality of life and adverse events. We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library 2011, Issue 3), MEDLINE (January 1950 to February 2012), trials registries and conference proceedings. The search was conducted in October 2010 and was updated in July 2011 and February 2012. We did not apply any language restrictions. We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) investigating the impact of ATG on GVHD prophylaxis in adults suffering from haematological diseases and undergoing allogeneic HSCT. Treatment arms had to differ only in the addition of ATG to the standard GVHD prophylaxis regimen. Two review authors screened abstracts, extracted data and analysed the data independently. We contacted study authors for additional information. We included in the meta-analysis six RCTs which met the pre-defined selection criteria, involving a total of 568 participants. Quality of data reporting was heterogeneous among these studies with a lack of detailed information in the early studies.The primary outcome of overall survival was not significantly changed by the addition of ATG for the prophylaxis of GVHD (harms ratio (HR) 0.88; 95% CI 0.67 to 1.15, P = 0.33).The incidence of treatment-requiring or severe acute GVHD (grade II to IV) was significantly lower in patients who received ATG (risk ratio (RR) 0.68; 95% CI 0.55 to 0.85, P = 0.009; number needed to treat (NNT) 8). Also, the incidence of severe acute GVHD (grade III to IV) was significantly reduced (HR 0.53; 95% CI 0.33 to 0.85, P = 0.0005; NNT 7) but comparable data were available for rabbit ATG only. However, pooled study results regarding the incidence of acute GVHD of all grades (I to IV) showed no significant benefit of ATG treatment (RR 0.89; 95% CI 0.74 to 1.06, P = 0.20).Meta-analysis of data regarding the incidence of overall chronic GVHD (both, limited and extensive) was not possible. Nevertheless, studies reporting on extensive chronic GVHD (only studies evaluating rabbit ATG) suggested a lower incidence of extensive chronic GVHD whereas others that only reported on overall chronic GVHD did not show an advantage for ATG.Pooled results regarding the incidence of relapse were not significantly different (RR 1.13; 95% CI 0.75 to 1.68, P = 0.56), as well as pooled results regarding non-relapse mortality (HR 0.82; 95% CI 0.55 to 1.24, P = 0.35).Due to the lack of comparable data, we could not perform meta-analysis of data regarding the incidence of chronic GVHD, relapse-related mortality, progression-free survival, quality of life, adverse events and engraftment. Our systematic review suggests that the addition of ATG during allogeneic HSCT significantly reduces the incidence of severe grades (II to IV) of acute GvHD, whereas the incidence of overall acute GVHD (grades I to IV) was not significantly lowered. This indicates a reduction of the severity but not the incidence of acute GVHD. However, this effect did not lead to a significant improvement of overall survival, which may be due to the severe potential side effects of the consecutively increased immunosuppression.Furthermore, future research is needed to clarify the effect of ATG on the incidence and severity of chronic GVHD and consequently on all aspects of quality of life.From the currently available data, no recommendation on the general use of ATG in allogeneic HSCT can be supported. Therefore, a careful consideration of the use of ATG based on the patient's condition and the risk factors of the transplantation setting should be made.
    Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) 09/2012; 9:CD009159. DOI:10.1002/14651858.CD009159.pub2 · 6.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Bone Marrow Transplantation is a high quality, peer-reviewed journal covering all aspects of clinical and basic haemopoietic stem cell transplantation.
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