Infusion of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) could be a treatment option for patients with steroid-refractory acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), according to results of a study published online ahead of print.1

GVHD, for which no approved treatments are available, is a major limitation in hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation. While some physicians use an infusion of MSC, its efficacy is still a matter of debate. 

A group of researchers performed a meta-analysis and systematic review to evaluate the benefit of MSC treatment in patients with steroid-resistant GVHD.

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The researchers identified a total of 13 non-randomized studies (N=336) at moderate risk of bias and 6 studies contained data for the primary outcome analysis (N=119). Primary outcome was defined as survival at 6 months from first infusion of MSCs.

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Results showed that survival at 6 months was 63% (95% CI, 50 – 74; I2=41%). Survival was not linked to age, MSC culture medium, or dose of MSCs.

The authors concluded that randomized trials are critical in order to assess different treatments for steroid-refractory GVHD.


  1. Hashmi S, Ahmed M, Murad H, et al. Survival after mesenchymal stromal cell therapy in steroid-refractory acute graft-versus host disease: systematic review and meta-analysis [published online ahead of print November 26, 2015]. Lancet Haematol. doi: 10.1016/S2352-3026(15)00224-0.