This trial is active, not recruiting.

Condition acute graft versus host disease
Treatment etanercept (enbrel)
Phase phase 3
Sponsor University of Michigan Cancer Center
Start date May 2008
End date July 2013
Trial size 50 participants
Trial identifier NCT00726375, HUM 17897, UMCC 2007.139


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.

United States No locations recruiting
Other countries No locations recruiting

Study Design

Intervention model single group assignment
Masking open label
Primary purpose treatment
a maximum of 8 SQ doses of 'Etanercept (Enbrel)at 0.4mg/kg per dose up to a maximum of 25 mg per dose
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.

Primary Outcomes

To determine with statistical certainty that treatment with etanercept alone for Grade I (stage 1-2 skin only) acute GVHD will reduce the percentage of patients who progress within 28 days of initiation of etanercept treatment, from 58% to 38%.
time frame: 30 days

Secondary Outcomes

Estimate proportion patients in complete remission four weeks survival, never require additional therapy four weeks after the last dose of etanercept. Estimate the proportion of patients who respond to etanercept
time frame: 30 days

Eligibility Criteria

Male or female participants of any age.

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).

Additional Information

Official title The Use of Etanercept (Enbrel) as Sole Treatment for Grade I Acute Graft Versus Host Disease
Principal investigator Sung Choi, MD
Trial information was received from ClinicalTrials.gov and was last updated in August 2013.
Information provided to ClinicalTrials.gov by University of Michigan Cancer Center.