Hepatitic pattern of graft versus host disease in children

Héctor Melín-Aldana*, Kimberly Thormann, Reggie Duerst, Morris Kletzel, David A. Jacobsohn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background. Liver involvement by graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is characterized histologically by bile duct damage, which may be severe. A different pattern, "hepatitic GVHD," has been described in adult patients. This pattern also shows marked lobular hepatitis and hepatocellular damage. We report the development of hepatitic GVHD in six pediatric patients. Procedure. Clinical information and histologic features of liver biopsy samples were retrospectively reviewed. Results. Patients' ages ranged from 3 to 11 years. Underlying diagnosis, pre-transplant conditioning and GVHD prophylaxis varied. Peripheral blood stem cells were the source of the allograft in four patients, matched sibling in one, and matched-unrelated donor in one. Hepatic GVHD was detected between 149 and 310 days post-transplant. Prior acute GVHD had developed in two patients, and involved the skin and/or gastrointestinal tract. No patients had significant ductopenia. Only one patient had significant lymphocytic infiltration of bile ducts (ductitis). Bile duct epithelial damage and significant portal/periportal inflammation were present in all patients. Lobular necro-inflammation was present in five patients. Five patients improved with immunosuppression and one died with progressive GVHD. Conclusions. This series focuses on hepatitic GVHD in pediatric patients. Clinical and histologic patterns are similar to what has been described in adults. Specific etiology and pathogenesis of this entity remain unclear.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)727-730
Number of pages4
JournalPediatric Blood and Cancer
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 15 2007


  • Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD)
  • Liver
  • Stem cell transplant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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