Ruxolitinib Appears Effective as Treatment of Steroid-Refractory GVHD

September 11, 2020
Uday R. Popat, MD

Uday R. Popat, MD, discusses the role of ruxolitinib as treatment of patients with graft-versus-host-disease.

Uday R. Popat, MD, professor, Department of Stem Cell Transplantation, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses the role of ruxolitinib (Jakafi) as treatment of patients with graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD).

In the first-line setting, treatment of GVHD is typically steroids. However, patients who end up failing treatment with steroids tend to have dismal outcomes. Over the years, Popat says multiple regimens have been evaluated as a potential new treatment for patients with GVHD, particularly those who become steroid-refractory.

The first treatment to show benefit was ruxolitinib, the JAK inhibitor. The objective response rate falls north of 50%, Popat says, which is impressive in this steroid-refractory population. For any patient who fails steroids, ruxolitinib is a good agent to use in the second-line setting.