Steroid Refractory Chronic Graft-Versus-Host Disease: Cost-Effectiveness Analysis

Fevzi F. Yalniz, Mohammad H. Murad, Stephanie J. Lee, Steven Z. Pavletic, Nandita Khera, Nilay D. Shah, Shahrukh K. Hashmi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Given the increasing incidence of chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD) and its rapidly escalating costs due to many lines of drug treatments, we aimed to perform a meta-analysis to assess the comparative effectiveness of various treatment options. Using these results, we then conducted a cost-effectiveness analysis for the frequently utilized agents in steroid-refractory cGVHD. We searched for studies examining tacrolimus, sirolimus, rituximab, ruxolitinib, hydroxychloroquine, imatinib, bortezomib, ibrutinib, extracorporeal photopheresis, pomalidomide, and methotrexate. Studies with a median follow-up period shorter than 6 months and enrolling fewer than 5 patients were excluded. Meta-analysis for overall and organ system–specific GVHD response (overall response [ORR], complete response [CR], and partial response [PR]) was conducted for each intervention. Cost per CR and cost per CR + PR were calculated as the quotient of the 6-month direct treatment cost by CR and CR + PR. Forty-one studies involving 1047 patients were included. CR rates ranged from 7% to 30% with rituximab and methotrexate, respectively, and ORR ranged from 30% to 85% with tacrolimus and ruxolitinib, respectively. Cost per CR ranged from US$1,187,657 with ruxolitinib to US$680 with methotrexate. Cost per ORR ranged from US$453 for methotrexate to US$242,236 for ibrutinib. The most cost-effective strategy was methotrexate for all of the organ systems. Pomalidomide was found to be the least cost-effective treatment for eye, gastrointestinal, fascia/joint, skin, and oral GVHD, and imatinib was found to be the least cost-effective treatment for liver and extracorporeal photopheresis for lung GVHD. We observed huge cost-effectiveness differences among available agents. Attention to economic issues when treating cGVHD is important to recommend how treatments should be sequenced, knowing that many patients will cycle through available agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1920-1927
Number of pages8
JournalBiology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2018


  • Allogeneic
  • Cost
  • GVHD
  • Survival
  • Transplant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Transplantation


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