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ABSTRACT: Hyperacute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is defined as GVHD occurring within 14 days after haematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT).
To evaluate the usefulness of skin biopsy in assessing hyperacute GVHD.
We examined 19 cases of hyperacute GVHD from a total of 134 consecutive HSCT cases at Shinshu University Hospital between 1999 and 2008.
Exanthemas were seen in all patients, which were mainly disseminated maculopapular erythemas, commonly present in acute GVHD as well. Most patients presented with a high fever, and a few had mild hepatic dysfunction and/or diarrhoea. The clinical grade of GVHD was 1-2 in all patients; there were no cases of clinical grades 3-4. The histological findings of skin biopsy were divided into three groups: (i) eight had grade 2 changes, characterized by diffuse vacuolization of basal cells, with dyskeratotic bodies; (ii) five had grade 1 changes, characterized by vacuolization of epidermal basal cells (all these cases were diagnosed as acute GVHD with grade 2 histological changes at subsequent biopsy); (iii) and six had no significant changes (these cases were also diagnosed as acute GVHD with grade 2 (four cases) or grade 1 (one case) histological changes on the second biopsy). Many of the patients developed acute and later chronic GVHD.
Skin biopsy should be considered when eruption develops after HSCT even before engraftment, especially when other organ involvement is minimal. If the first skin biopsy is inconclusive, follow-up biopsy within a short time is helpful in the diagnosis of hyperacute GVHD.
Clinical and Experimental Dermatology 01/2012; 37(4):335-40. · 1.33 Impact Factor