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The Use of Etanercept Enbrel as Sole Treatment for Grade I Acute Graft Versus Host Disease

This study has been completed.
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
University of Michigan Cancer Center Identifier:
First received: July 28, 2008
Last updated: December 4, 2015
Last verified: December 2015

This is a clinical trial to see if treatment with etanercept for early skin graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) can effectively treat and prevent progression of the disease without using high dose steroids.

GVHD is a common complication following a bone marrow transplant from another donor. GVHD occurs after transplant, when the donor's blood cells (called lymphocytes) recognize parts of your body, such as the skin, as foreign. A certain chemical, called Tumor Necrosis Factor, or TNF, also causes damage to the skin. The main effect on the skin is a red rash, when the skin GVHD is mild, but in more severe forms the skin can blister.

We have been studying GVHD at the University of Michigan for the past decade. We know that high levels of TNF makes GVHD worse. Our research has shown that adding an anti-TNF drug (called etanercept or Enbrel®) to the standard GVHD treatment of high dose steroids leads to improvement in the GVHD in twice as many patients compared to when steroids alone are used. It is now standard practice at the University of Michigan and many other centers to treat GVHD with both steroids and etanercept.

The management of early skin GVHD for most patients involves treatment with steroids, given both as a cream and by either the mouth (in pills) or IV. Early skin GVHD is also called grade I GVHD, which means the skin rash covers less than half of the body. Steroid treatment can be effective; however, it also causes many complications such as an increased risk of infection, weight gain, stomach ulcers, muscle weakness and bone damage, among many others. We have developed this study to test whether starting treatment with etanercept and steroid creams alone can treat the GVHD without requiring the use of high dose steroids. The goal is to avoid the complications that come with high dose oral or IV steroid treatment. The high dose steroid treatment would only begin if your GVHD got worse.

Condition Intervention Phase
Acute Graft Versus Host Disease
Drug: Etanercept (Enbrel)
Phase 3

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: The Use of Etanercept (Enbrel) as Sole Treatment for Grade I Acute Graft Versus Host Disease

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by University of Michigan Cancer Center:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • The Percentage of Patients Who Progress Within 28 Days of Initiation of Etanercept Treatment [ Time Frame: 28 days ]
    We hypothesized that treatment of grade 1 acute GVHD (Graft Versus Host Disease) with etanercept would reduce the proportion of patients who progressed to grade 2 to 4 acute GVHD within 4 weeks of diagnosis from 58%, historically observed at our institution, to 38%.

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • The Number of Patients in Complete Remission (CR) at Four Weeks. [ Time Frame: 28 days ]

    Estimate the proportion of patients in complete remission (CR) at four weeks who remain alive and never require additional therapy four weeks after the last dose of etanercept.

    Complete remission is defined as the resolution of all manifestations of GVHD (Graft Versus Host Disease) within the first four weeks of treatment. All organs must have a Grade 0.

Enrollment: 34
Study Start Date: May 2008
Study Completion Date: September 2014
Primary Completion Date: July 2013 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: Etanercept
a maximum of 8 SQ doses of 'Etanercept (Enbrel) at 0.4mg/kg per dose up to a maximum of 25 mg per dose
Drug: Etanercept (Enbrel)
Etanercept will begin within 72 hours of the diagnosis of Grade I acute GVHD and after consent for this study. Subjects receive eight doses of etanercept over four weeks. All doses will be administered by SQ injection. All subsequent doses will be given as subcutaneous injections into the skin. Injections will be given twice weekly with at least one day in between injections. The injections can be given in clinic, in the hospital, or self administered injections.


Ages Eligible for Study:   Child, Adult, Senior
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  1. Patient must have undergone HCT (donor cells from any source) with either a myeloablative or nonmyeloablative preparative regimen.
  2. Patient may be any age.
  3. Patient must have biopsy-proven Grade I acute GVHD (Appendix A). Biopsy report does not have to be back from Pathology prior to enrollment. Patients whose biopsy for GVHD identifies pathology inconsistent with GVHD will be removed from the study and replaced. However, because GVHD is a clinical diagnosis, biopsies which are non-diagnostic or do not show a clear non-GVHD etiology will not be cause to remove the patient from the study.

Exclusion Criteria:

  1. Patients who are pregnant (positive urine or serum test) or nursing.
  2. Active infections which are unresponsive to antibiotics (> 2 consecutive [at least 24 hours apart], positive blood cultures after initiation of treatment).
  3. Allergic or otherwise undesirable reaction to etanercept.
  4. Use of any oral or intravenous steroids at any previous time for GVHD treatment. Prior use of steroid therapy (i.e. hydrocortisone) as pre-medication for transfusions is permissible. Prior use of topical steroids is allowed.
  5. Use of etanercept for any other purpose.
  6. Noncompliance with medications.
  7. Grade II-IV GVHD (history of or at time of study entry).
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00726375

United States, Michigan
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States, 48109
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Michigan Cancer Center
Principal Investigator: Sung Choi, MD The University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center
  More Information

Publications automatically indexed to this study by Identifier (NCT Number):
Responsible Party: University of Michigan Cancer Center Identifier: NCT00726375     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: UMCC 2007.139
HUM 17897 ( Other Identifier: University of MI Medical School IRB )
Study First Received: July 28, 2008
Results First Received: July 8, 2014
Last Updated: December 4, 2015

Keywords provided by University of Michigan Cancer Center:

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Graft vs Host Disease
Immune System Diseases
Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
Analgesics, Non-Narcotic
Sensory System Agents
Peripheral Nervous System Agents
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Anti-Inflammatory Agents
Antirheumatic Agents
Gastrointestinal Agents
Immunosuppressive Agents
Immunologic Factors processed this record on April 27, 2017