Real-World Efficacy of Anti-Fungal Prophylaxis in Patients Treated for Acute Gastrointestinal Graft-Versus-host Disease (GI-GVHD)

Yin Yuan 1 and Ashleigh P Scott 2

Author address: 

1Department of Haematology and BMT, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Brisbane, Australia 2Department of Haematology and BMT, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Herston, Australia



Allogeneic progenitor cell transplant (HPCT) recipients who develop acute gastrointestinal graft-versus-host disease (GI-GVHD) are at increased risk of developing invasive fungal infections (IFI). Randomised control trial data supports the use of mould-active fungal prophylaxis in HPCT patients with grade II-IV GVHD (Ullman et al. 2007). We aimed to assess our unit's use of anti-fungal prophylaxis and describe the incidence and species of breakthrough IFI in patients with GI-GVHD.


We conducted a retrospective audit of patients who underwent HPCT at our institution between 2011-2016 and identified those who were treated for acute GI-GVHD using a minimum of prednisone 1mg/kg or equivalent. For those patients the following details were collected: presence of any prior IFIs, anti-fungal prophylaxis before and after initiation of steroids, and the incidence of new IFIs within 6 months of commencing steroids.


Of the 551 HPCT performed during this period, 74 evaluable patients were treated for GI-GVHD. All patients received anti-fungal prophylaxis prior to steroid commencement (66.2% received fluconazole, 10.8% posaconazole, 20.2% voriconazole and 2.7% other). Post steroids 35.1% remained on fluconazole, 21.6% received posaconazole, 35.1% received voriconazole, and 8.1% received other anti-fungals. Of the 26 patients remaining on fluconazole, 9 were transitioned to mould-active prophylaxis at a later time.

Twelve patients (16.2%) experienced a breakthrough IFI (6 definite and 6 probable). In the 42 patients receiving posaconazole or voriconazole, 7 (16.7%) experienced breakthrough IFI, compared with 3 (11.5%) in the fluconazole cohort. Two other cases occurred in patients who received caspofungin. Notably, patients receiving mould-active fungal prophylaxis developed mucormycosis, Fusarium and Scedosporium infections whereas fluconazole lead to invasive aspergillosis.


Despite anti-fungal prophylaxis, real-world GI-GVHD patients remain at particularly increased risk of developing IFI. Anti-mould prophylaxis is associated with lower incidence of invasive aspergillosis but higher incidence of non-Aspergillus mould. Further studies investigating optimal anti-mould strategies are warranted.


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Full conference title: 

60th American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting 2018
    • ASH 60th (2018)