Experimental and clinical transplantation : official journal of the Middle East Society for Organ Transplantation 2018 04 04() doi 10.6002/ect.2017.0231
Graft-versus-host-disease after orthotopic liver transplant is a rare and life-threatening complication. The diagnosis is challenging and usually confirmed by chimerism and skin biopsies. The most common cause of death is sepsis (60%), and broad-spectrum antibiotics and antifungal prophylaxis are strongly recommended. We present a case of a 61-year-old man with hepatocellular carcinoma and a previous history of metabolic and alcoholic cirrhosis who underwent orthotopic liver transplant. The immunosuppression regimen consisted of corticosteroids, calcineurin inhibitor, and mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 inhibitor. Nine days after surgery, the patient developed leukopenia and skin rash. After confirmation of graft-versus-host disease by chimerism and skin biopsy, etanercept, a novel anti-tumor necrosis factor-alpha drug used for patients with hematologic and rheumatologic disease, was administrated. Unfortunately, no clinical improvements or bone marrow recovery were noted, and the patient had subsequent fatal sepsis due to Enterococcus faecium, Aspergillus fumigatus, and viral superinfection. There are no US Food and Drug Administration-approved treatments for graft-versus-host disease after orthotopic liver transplant. The main risk factors are recipients > 50 years old, patients with glucose intolerance, patients transplanted due to hepatocellular carcinoma, donor-recipient age difference of > 20 years, and any HLA-class I match. In accordance with the literature, we suggest early use of broad-spectrum antibiotics and antifungal drugs during etanercept treatment. In addition, because of substantially higher risk for severe sepsis, we strongly recommend adding an antiviral prophylaxis to prevent Cytomegalovirus reactivation or unexpected superinfection.