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The significance of oral labial biopsy in hepatic graft-versus-host disease diagnosis in patients following allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation – a preliminary report

Monika Prochorec-Sobieszek, Barbara Nasiłowska-Adamska, Anna Szumera-Ciećkiewicz, Agnieszka Tomaszewska, Kazimierz Hałaburda, Andrzej Szczepiński, Olga Szymańska-Giemza, Bogna Ziarkiewicz-Wróblewska, Bożena Mariańska

Ann Transplant 2012; 17(3): 85-92

DOI: 10.12659/AOT.883462

Published: 2012-09-26


Background:    Graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) is the most important complication after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT) responsible for increased mortality. Recent studies have discussed the use of oral GvHD screening tests in the diagnosis of systemic GvHD. This is the first study of the significance of oral labial biopsy in diagnosis of hepatic graft-versus-host disease (H-GvHD) following allo-HSCT.
    Material/Methods:    Twenty-one patients after alloHSCT were selected: 12 patients with H-GvHD established clinically and in laboratory tests, and 9 patients without features of GvHD (control group). Histopathological and immunohistochemical evaluations of tissue samples included the following: 15 samples of oral mucosa (OM), 19 of lip salivary glands (LSG), and 5 of the liver, were performed in both groups.
    Results:    All patients had clinically normal oral mucosa and 4 patients with H-GvHD manifested with xerostomia symptoms. Histological examination of LSG and/or OM confirmed the GvHD diagnosis in 9 of 12 patients with H-GvHD. The microscopic changes included: mild inflammatory lymphocytic infiltrates and apoptotic bodies in OM, and inflammatory infiltrates of mild degree with minimal CD8+ T cells predominance in the invaded ducts epithelium in LSG. In the control group, 4 of 9 patients had mild chronic inflammation, which did not fulfill the criteria of GvHD. The histopathological image of liver biopsies correlated with the clinical GvHD diagnosis.
    Conclusions:    The microscopic evaluation of LSG and/or OM biopsy confirms the clinical diagnosis of H-GvHD, regardless of the absence of clinical oral symptoms of GVHD. The histopathological features of oral GvHD may be subtle; the diagnosis requires a clinico-pathological and laboratory approach to exclude the other diseases with similar histopathological features.

Keywords: allo HSCT, Graft Versus Host Disease, oral labial biopsy, hepatic graft versus host disease



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