Sclerotic skin manifestations of chronic graft-versus-host disease (ScGVHD) lead to significant morbidity, including functional disability from joint range of motion (ROM) restriction. No superior second-line therapy has been established for steroid-refractory disease. Imatinib mesylate is a multikinase inhibitor of several signaling pathways implicated in skin fibrosis with in vitro antifibrotic activity. We performed an open-label pilot phase II trial of imatinib in children and adults with corticosteroid-refractory ScGVHD. Twenty patients were enrolled in a 6-month trial. Eight received a standard dose (adult, 400 mg daily; children, 260 mg/m2 daily). Because of poor tolerability, 12 additional patients underwent a dose escalation regimen (adult, 100 mg daily initial dose up to 200 mg daily maximum; children, initial dose 65 mg/m2 daily up to 130 mg/m2 daily). Fourteen patients were assessable for primary response, improvement in joint ROM deficit, at 6 months. Primary outcome criteria for partial response was met in 5 of 14 (36%), stable disease in 7 of 14 (50%), and progressive disease in 2 of 14 (14%) patients. Eleven patients (79%), including 5 with partial response and 6 with stable disease, demonstrated a positive gain in ROM (range of 3% to 94% improvement in deficit). Of 13 patients with measurable changes at 6 months, the average improvement in ROM deficit was 24.2% (interquartile range, 15.5% to 30.5%; P = .011). This trial is registered at http://clinicaltrials.gov as NCT007020689.
- Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
- Graft-versus-host disease
- Imatinib mesylate