Treatment of relapse after autologous blood stem cell transplantation for severe rheumatoid arthritis

S. Z. Pavletic*, L. W. Klassen, R. Pope, J. R. O'Dell, A. E. Traynor, C. E. Haire, F. Graziano, F. Schuening, Y. Oyama, W. Barr, R. K. Burt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


There is little information about the clinical course of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who relapse after autologous blood stem cell transplantation (ASCT). We describe 6 patients with severe RA who received ASCT in 3 US centers. Duration of followup was between 24 and 42 months posttransplant. Five patients achieved major responses but relapsed 3-22 months posttransplant. Two patients with relapse improved remarkably after restarting disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARD). Two patients developed a mild RA flare at 3 and 5 months posttransplant and improved spontaneously. All 4 patients who improved after an initial disease flare remained highly functional at 14-22 months posttransplant. All patients in this study were anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) drug naive; all received a TNF blocker as a second line posttransplant salvage therapy, but only 3 responded. Future ASCT strategies need to focus on improving the durability of the early posttransplant responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-31
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Rheumatology
Issue numberSUPPL. 64
StatePublished - 2001


  • Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
  • Longterm followup
  • Relapse
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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