Graft-versus-host disease epidemiology and demographics

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Shyam Patel [2]

Overview

Overall, GvHD is a rare disease, given that this disease can only develop after a stem cell transplant is performed, and only a small fraction of people undergo stem cell transplants. However, amongst those who do undergo stem cell transplants, the incidence of GvHD is high (35-50%). The incidence of GvHD is estimated to be 9.5x10-7 per 100,000 cases. There are approximately 5500 total cases annually.[1] Patients of all age groups may develop GvHD, but it occurs more commonly in older persons who receive stem cells from female donors. GvHD affects men more commonly than women. There is no racial predilection to GvHD. The incidence of GvHD is not directly correlated with age, as the disease is an iatrogenic condition that occurs after a transplant, rather than a natural disease.

Epidemiology and Demographics

Prevalence

  • In developing countries, the prevalence of GvHD has not been studied, as bone marrow transplants are only performed in highly specialized centers.
  • There is no data on the number of persons living with GvHD.

Incidence

  • Worldwide, the incidence of GvHD ranges from a low of 8x10^-7 per 100,000 persons to a high of 1.14x10-6 per 100,000 persons with an average incidence of 9.5x10-7 per 100,000 persons.[1] The reason for the low incidence worldwide is that the disease can only occur after a bone marrow transplantation, and bone marrow transplantations occur only in highly specialized centers.
  • In developing countries, the incidence of GvHD has not been studied, as bone marrow transplants are only performed in highly specialized centers.
  • In 2003, the incidence of GvHD was estimated to range from 4795 to 6850 total cases worldwide.[1]

Case Fatality Rate

  • The annual case fatality rate of GvHD is approximately 25%.[2]

Age

  • GvHD is more likely to occur in persons of older age. However, given that this is not a natural disease, but rather an iatrogenic disease, GvHD can occur at any age, depending on when a patient underwent a bone marrow transplant.

Gender

  • Males are more commonly affected with GvHD than females. The male to female ratio is approximately 1.4:1.[3]

Race

  • The prevalence of GvHD does not vary by race.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Jacobsohn DA, Vogelsang GB (2007). "Acute graft versus host disease". Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2: 35. doi:10.1186/1750-1172-2-35. PMC 2018687. PMID 17784964.
  2. Gratwohl A, Brand R, Frassoni F, Rocha V, Niederwieser D, Reusser P; et al. (2005). "Cause of death after allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) in early leukaemias: an EBMT analysis of lethal infectious complications and changes over calendar time". Bone Marrow Transplant. 36 (9): 757–69. doi:10.1038/sj.bmt.1705140. PMID 16151426.
  3. Kim HT, Zhang MJ, Woolfrey AE, St Martin A, Chen J, Saber W; et al. (2016). "Donor and recipient sex in allogeneic stem cell transplantation: what really matters". Haematologica. 101 (10): 1260–1266. doi:10.3324/haematol.2016.147645. PMC 5046656. PMID 27354023.



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