Blood 2017 01 05129(7) 906-916 doi 10.1182/blood-2016-08-735076
Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT). Lymphocyte trafficking via chemokine receptors such as CCR5 plays a critical role in alloreactive responses, and previous data suggest that CCR5 blockade with maraviroc results in a low incidence of visceral GVHD. However, the full scope of clinical and immunologic effects of CCR5 blockade in HSCT has not been described. We compared a cohort of patients enrolled on a trial of reduced-intensity allo-HSCT with standard GVHD prophylaxis plus maraviroc to a contemporary control cohort receiving standard GVHD prophylaxis alone. Maraviroc treatment was associated with a lower incidence of acute GVHD without increased risk of disease relapse, as well as reduced levels of gut-specific markers. At day 30, maraviroc treatment increased CCR5 expression on T cells and dampened T-cell activation in peripheral blood without impairing early immune reconstitution or increasing risk for infections. Patients who developed acute GVHD despite maraviroc prophylaxis showed increased T-cell activation, naive T-cell skewing, and elevated serum CXCL9 and CXCL10 levels. Collectively, these data suggest that maraviroc effectively protects against GVHD by modulating alloreactive donor T-cell responses, and that CXCR3 signaling may be an important resistance mechanism to CCR5 blockade in GVHD.