Allogeneic peripheral blood stem cell transplantation (PBSCT) is associated with an increased risk of severe acute and chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) compared to bone marrow transplantation. Anti-thymocyte globulin (ATG) can reduce severe acute and chronic GVHD in PBSCT; however, an optimal dose of ATG remains undefined. We conducted a multicenter phase II study to investigate safety and efficacy of low-dose ATG (a total of 2 mg/kg Thymoglobulin) in patients undergoing HLA-matched PBSCT after myeloablative conditioning. The primary endpoint was grades III–IV GVHD at 100 days. Seventy-seven patients were enrolled and 72 patients with a median age of 46.5 years were eligible for analysis. The primary endpoint, cumulative incidence of grades III–IV acute GVHD at 100 days was 1.4% (95% CI, 0.1–6.7%), which was greatly less than our pre-defined statistical threshold value (18.0%). The incidence of chronic GVHD at 1 year was also low (all-grade; 15.3%, moderate to severe; 5.6%). Non-relapse mortality, relapse, overall survival, disease-free survival, and GVHD-free, relapse-free survival at 1 year were 4.2%, 20.8%, 84.7%, 75.0%, and 69.4%, respectively. Low dose thymoglobulin is promising to reduce severe acute and chronic GVHD in HLA-matched PBSCT following myeloablative conditioning.
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