Chronic Graft Versus Host Disease

What is Chronic Graft Versus Host Disease (cGvHD)?

Chronic Graft Versus Host Disease (cGvHD) is a rare disorder that usually occurs when the new bone marrow or stem cells placed in someone after a bone marrow or stem cell transplant do not properly accept and integrate into the new person’s body. The cells attack the new host’s body instead, leading to the signs and symptoms of the condition.

cGvHD usually develops within two years after the transplant, but can sometimes occur even sooner. It is not contagious and cannot be passed on to others.

What are the Symptoms of cGvHD?

The symptoms of cGvHD can vary widely, and may include:

  • Redness, rashes, or dryness of the skin
  • Joint pain or stiffness
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Mouth sores
  • Chronic Swallowing or breathing difficulty
  • Gut problems, such as diarrhea or nausea
  • Dry eyes

Who is at Risk for cGvHD?

Anyone who receives a bone marrow or stem cell transplant is at risk for cGvHD, although there is not one specific factor that can lead to an increased risk.

Those who have had a stem cell transplant are more likely to develop the condition than those who have had a bone marrow transplant. In addition, the older you are or the greater distance between the donor and the recipient, the greater your chance of developing the condition.

Diagnosing and Treating cGvHD

Chronic Graft Versus Host Disease can be diagnosed using a variety of tests, such as skin biopsy, blood tests, and imaging studies. Treatment for the condition is varied and depends on the severity of the symptoms and the areas affected. Common treatments may include corticosteroids, immunosuppressants, and other medications.

It is important to speak with your doctor if you have any signs or symptoms that may be related to cGvHD. Early diagnosis and treatment may help reduce the risk of serious long-term complications.