Although significant advances have been made in the biologic understanding of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and its treatment options, GVHD remains the single most challenging obstacle to the success of allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) due to high risk of disabling morbidity and mortality. Extracorporeal photopheresis (ECP) has promising effects in controlling steroid-refractory GVHD, both acute and chronic, and it has been studied extensively. Its putative immunomodulatory mechanisms, while not immunosuppressive, position ECP as an attractive treatment strategy for GVHD patients who are already receiving global immunosuppression. However, ECP is relatively underutilized due in part to limited access and time commitment. Here, we review the recent findings on the ECP efficacy in both acute and chronic GVHD, primarily for steroid-refractory status, and we critically appraise its benefits. We also explore salient considerations on the optimal use of ECP in the treatment of refractory GVHD.
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Rafei, H., Kharfan-Dabaja, M., & Nishihori, T. (2017). A Critical Appraisal of Extracorporeal Photopheresis as a Treatment Modality for Acute and Chronic Graft-Versus-Host Disease. Biomedicines, 5 (4). http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines5040060