The optimal therapy for steroid-refractory (SR) acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD) is undefined. We studied patients with SR aGVHD, comparing extracorporeal photopheresis (ECP; n = 57) and anticytokine therapy (n = 41). In multivariate analyses, ECP, adjusted for steroid dose (odds ratio, 3.42; P = .007), and grade >II aGVHD (odds ratio, 68; P < .001) were independent predictors of response. ECP therapy, adjusted for conditioning regimen intensity and steroid dose, was associated with superior survival (hazard ratio [HR], 4.6; P = .016) in patients with SR grade II aGVHD. Grade >II aGVHD at onset of salvage therapy (HR, 9.4; P < .001) and lack of response to therapy (HR, 3.09; P = .011) were associated with inferior survival. These findings require validation in a prospective randomized study.
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