International Journal of Hematology

DOI: 10.1007/s12185-018-2520-5 Pages: 615-621

Graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) of the tongue and of the oral cavity: a large retrospective study

1. San Maurizio Regional Hospital, Transfusion Service

2. Claudiana Scuola Superiore di Sanità Bolzano, IMREST, Interdisciplinary Medical Research Center

3. University of Innsbruck, Department of Internal Medicine V

4. San Maurizio Regional Hospital, Odontostomatology Service

5. San Maurizio Hospital, Division of Clinical Nutrition

6. San Maurizio Regional Hospital, Pathology Department

Correspondence to:
Andrea Piccin
Tel: +39 347-2736692



Graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) causes severe mucositis, impairs feeding and favors infection. The objective of this study was to identify the impact of GvHD in the oral cavity. We reviewed all consecutive patients who developed oral GvHD after HSCT. The study period was over 14 years. 53 patients were identified. M/F = 1.4; median age was 48.6 years; the median follow-up was for up to 3 years and 6 months. Conditioning regimens included several drugs (e.g., busulfan, cyclophosphamide and fludarabine). In 11 cases, radiotherapy (RT) was also used. Patients treated with RT were more likely to have tooth decay requiring fillings (p = 0.029), to need canal root interventions (p = 0.005) and to have tartar requiring oral hygiene interventions (p = 0.011). Patients with a lymphoma diagnosis were more likely to develop perioral scleroderma and chronic oral GvHD (cGvHD) (p = 0.045). Oral acute GvHD (aGvHD) was seen in 26 patients (49.1%). 21 (39.6%) patients developed cGvHD. GvHD of the tongue was seen in 21 (40%) patients. Oral mucositis was seen in only 5 patients (9.4%). Conditioning regimens with RT are more likely to induce oral aGvHD. The tongue is often affected by GvHD.

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