Two Cases of Cutaneous Chronic Graft Versus Host Disease in Treatment With Psoralen Plus Ultraviolet-A-Bath Photochemotherapy

November 2009 | Volume 8 | Issue 11 | Case Reports | 1027 | Copyright © November 2009

Mariana Viktoria Hoffner PhD, Ana Carrizosa Esquivel MD PhD, Águeda Pulpillo Ruiz MD PhD,Alberto Herrera Saval MD PhD, Julián Conejo-Mir MD PhD, Francisco Miguel Camacho MD PhD

Background: Up to 50% of patients undergoing allogenic stem cell transplantation or bone marrow transplantation (BMT) can develop acute or chronic graft versus host disease (GVHD) as a severe complication. Immunosuppressive therapies may prove not only ineffective but may cause serious adverse effects. GVHD remains a major clinical problem and is often associated with high mortality rates.

Methods: This article presents the cases of a 48-year-old woman and a 23-year-old man, both presenting with severe cutaneous sclerodermic chronic GVHD following allogenic stem cell transplantation. Despite several years of treatment with oral corticosteroids, mycophenolate mofetil, sirolimus and acitretine, the skin lesions had not improved. Both patients were then treated with psoralen plus ultraviolet (PUVA)-bath photochemotherapy three times weekly, following a standardized treatment protocol.

Results: After a total accumulated dose of about 90 J/cm2, skin lesions in both patients had improved, showing complete remission in some body areas. Systemic corticosteroid treatment could be gradually reduced in the case of the female patient and skin conditions remained stable during maintenance treatment of PUVA-bath two times weekly and during a mean follow-up period of eight months.

Conclusion: Oral PUVA therapy has been established as a successful treatment for acute and chronic GVHD, but unfortunately may result in systemic side effects. Psoralen plus ultraviolet-A-bath photochemotherapy provides clinicians with a therapeutic alternative that offers high clinical efficacy and safety. Therefore, PUVA-bath could be included as an alternative in the treatment protocol for chronic cutaneous GVHD.