Screening GI Tract for Chronic GVHD
Below are clinical manifestations that are potential early indicators of chronic GVHD of the GI tract. If GVHD is suspected, timely collaboration with the patient's transplant center is recommended to confirm the diagnosis and to develop and evaluate a treatment plan.
These guidelines are based on published diagnostic criteria from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Consensus Development Project on chronic GVHD. [1,2,3]
- Examination of mouth and hypopharynx
- Barium contrast radiograph
- Swallowing study
- Stool test for fecal fat
Patient-Reported Symptoms and Signs
- Abdominal pain
- Weight loss
- Painful swallowing
- Difficulty swallowing dry foods/pills
Smooth, circumferential ring of squamous mucosa; documented by endoscopy or barium contrast radiograph
Upper Esophageal Strictures or Stenosis
Narrowing of the upper to mid third of the esophagus; documented by endoscopy or barium contrast radiograph
Pancreatic Exocrine Insufficiency**
Pancreatic atrophy and exocrine insufficiency leading to inability to properly digest food due to a lack of digestive enzymes; often improves with enzyme supplementation
Failure to thrive (infants and children)***
* Distinctive but insufficient alone to establish an unequivocal diagnosis of chronic GVHD without further testing or additional organ involvement
** Rare, controversial, or non-specific features of chronic GVHD
*** Common in both acute and chronic GVHD
- Jagasia MH, Greinix HT, Arora M, et al. National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Project on Criteria for Clinical Trials in Chronic Graft-versus-Host Disease: I. The 2014 Response Criteria Working Group Report. Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2015; 21(3): 389-401.
- Lee SJ, Wolff D, Kitko C, et al. Measuring therapeutic response in chronic graft-versus-host disease. National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Project on Criteria for Clinical Trials in Chronic Graft-versus-Host Disease: IV. The 2014 Response Criteria Working Group Report. Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2015; 21(6): 984-999.
- These guidelines have been developed by the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP)/Be The Match® in consultation with Sandra A. Mitchell, CRNP, MScN, AOCN; National Institutes of Health Clinical Center; and Steven Z. Pavletic, M.D.; National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md. The information in this document does not represent the official position of the NIH or the U.S. Government.
Additional review from:
- Dennis L. Confer, M.D., NMDP/Be The Match, Minneapolis, Minn.
- Linda J. Burns, M.D., NMDP/Be The Match, Minneapolis, Minn.
- Madan Jagasia, M.D., Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tenn.
- Stephanie J. Lee, M.D., Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Wash.
Text adapted from reports of the NIH Consensus Development Project on Criteria for Clinical Trials in Chronic Graft-versus-Host Disease from Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation by American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation. Reproduced with permission of Elsevier, Inc..
- Photos/ Keratosis Pilaris; Lichen Planus-like; Hypopigmentation; Sclerosis; Erosion; Maculopapular: Maria L. Turner, M.D.; Edward W.Cowen, M.D.; Dermatology Branch, National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda, Md.
- Photos/ Poikiloderma; Morphea; Lichen Planus-like; Lichen Sclerosus-like; Hyperpigmentation; Sclerosis; Nail dystrophy; Alopecia; Edema: Edward W. Cowen, M.D.; Dermatology Branch, National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda, Md.
- Photos/ Lichen planus; Mucoceles; Erythema: Mark M. Schubert, D.D.S., M.S.D.; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Wash.
- Photo/ Keratoconjunctivitis: Mary E.D. Flowers, M.D.; University of Washington, Seattle, Wash.
- Photo/ Blepharitis: Janine A. Smith, M.D.; National Eye Institute, NIH, Bethesda, Md.
All photos used with permission.