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Papers of the Week

2021 May

Transplant Cell Ther



Leucovorin Rescue After Methotrexate Graft-Versus-Host Disease Prophylaxis Shortens the Duration of Mucositis, Time to Neutrophil Engraftment, and Hospital Length of Stay.


Freyer CW, Gier S, Moyer ME, Berryman N, Carulli A, Ganetsky A, Timlin C, Babushok DV, Frey NV, Gill SI, Hexner EO, Loren AW, Mangan JK, Martin M E, McCurdy S, Perl AE, Smith J, Luger SM, Stadtmauer EA, Porter DL
Transplant Cell Ther. 2021 May; 27(5):431.e1-431.e8.
PMID: 33965188.


Oropharyngeal mucositis (OPM) is common following conditioning for allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (alloHCT) and results in pain, functional status decline, need for nutritional support, infections, and prolonged length of stay (LOS). Methotrexate (MTX) graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) prophylaxis exacerbates OPM and slows hematopoietic engraftment, which may prolong LOS. Previous studies have demonstrated reduced OPM and more rapid engraftment when leucovorin (LCV) is added following MTX GVHD prophylaxis, yet this practice is controversial. The primary objective of this study was to determine if the routine addition of LCV to MTX GVHD prophylaxis impacted the duration of grade 2 to 4 OPM. Secondary objectives included determination of the incidence of grade 2 to 4 and grade 3 to 4 OPM, time to engraftment, ability to receive all four planned MTX doses, use of total parenteral nutrition (TPN), use of patient-controlled analgesia (PCA), LOS, incidence of acute or chronic GVHD, relapse-free survival (RFS), and overall survival (OS). This single-center, retrospective cohort study compared alloHCT outcomes for 46 adult patients who received MTX 15 mg/m day +1; MTX 10 mg/m days +3, +6, and +11 (15-10-10-10); and LCV following days +3, +6, and +11 MTX compared to historical controls who did not. Patients who received myeloablative conditioning (MAC) and matched related donor (MRD) or matched unrelated donor (MUD) alloHCT were included. The addition of LCV resulted in significant reductions in the duration of grade 2 to 4 OPM (median, 6 days versus 10.5 days; P = .0004), duration of TPN (7 days versus 16 days; P = .001), PCA use (16% versus 39%; P = .0001), time to neutrophil engraftment (median, 18 versus 20 days; P = .008), and LOS (median, 27.5 versus 31 days; P = .017) compared to historical controls. Patients who received routine LCV had similar incidences of grade 2 to 4 acute GVHD (30% versus 28%; relative risk [RR], 1.08; 95% confidence interval [CI], .57 to 2.03; P = 1.0), grade 3 or 4 acute GVHD (2% versus 7%; RR, .33; 95% CI, .04 to 3.09; P = .62) and chronic GVHD (37% versus 30%; RR, 1.21; 95% CI, .67 to 2.16; P = .66) compared to historical controls. Graft failure occurred in 2% of patients in each group. In a multivariable logistic regression analysis, RFS was similar in the LCV group compared to historical controls (HR, .86; 95% CI, .24 to 1.2; P = .13); however, OS was improved in patients who received LCV (HR, .33; 95% CI, .13 to .83; P = .01). In patients undergoing MAC MRD/MUD alloHCT with four planned doses of MTX GVHD prophylaxis (15-10-10-10), LCV was associated with reduced duration of grade 2 to 4 OPM, faster neutrophil engraftment, reduced utilization of TPN and PCA, and shortened LOS compared to historical controls not receiving routine LCV. These benefits were apparent without an increased risk of acute or chronic GVHD or adverse effect on RFS. LCV improved OS; however, it is unclear if this was due to the intervention or an unmeasured confounder. A randomized, prospective trial of LCV prophylaxis in patients receiving MAC alloHCT and MTX 15-10-10-10 GVHD prophylaxis is warranted to confirm our findings.