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Chronic graft-versus-host disease - Oral Mucosal Lesion
See also in: Overview,Nail and Distal Digit
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Chronic graft-versus-host disease - Oral Mucosal Lesion

See also in: Overview,Nail and Distal Digit
Contributors: Philip I. Song MD, Belinda Tan MD, PhD, Susan Burgin MD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Synopsis

Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) refers to multiorgan dysfunction resulting from the introduction of foreign immunocompetent lymphocytes or bone marrow tissue (the graft) into an immunologically defective host. Most GVHD occurs in individuals who have undergone allogeneic bone marrow transplants, but it may occur in solid organ transplant and blood transfusion recipients.

The incidence of chronic GVHD is estimated to be 60%-70% in recipients of allogeneic stem cell transplants with mismatched and unrelated donors, and about 30% in recipients of fully histocompatible sibling donor transplants. Almost all chronic GVHD patients will have skin involvement, and the oral mucosa is involved in 90% of patients with chronic GVHD.

Acute oral GVHD usually manifests 15-20 days after transplantation when engraftment occurs. Patients generally complain of pain, sensitivity, soreness, dryness in the mouth, and sometimes tightness of the oral musculature. The lips, tongue, gums, and buccal mucosae can all be involved. There are often accompanying dental caries and gingivitis / periodontitis, skin rash, irritated eyes, diarrhea, and elevated liver function tests.

More chronically, changes that resemble oral lichen planus may occur. If sclerotic GVHD is present, perioral sclerosis results in reduction of motion of lips and loss of the mandibular and maxillary vestibules.

Codes

ICD10CM:
D89.811 – Chronic graft-versus-host disease

SNOMEDCT:
402356004 – Chronic graft-versus-host disease

Look For

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Diagnostic Pearls

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Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

  • Oral lichen planus is clinically indistinguishable from chronic GVHD except for the history of hematopoietic cell transplantation. Many oncologists refer to oral chronic GVHD as oral lichen planus developing after transplantation.
  • Recrudescent Orofacial herpes simplex virus (HSV) may appear as ulcers but generally is not associated with lichenoid striations. A culture will identify the virus. However, infection may reactivate within lesions of oral chronic GVHD, exacerbating symptoms.
  • Similarly, Cytomegalovirus infection (CMV) infection in the mouth presents as ulcers that may be solitary or multifocal. Simple viral cultures are not as effective as a biopsy in identifying CMV infection, which tends to infect deep tissues.
  • Neutropenic ulcers occur in the same population, but this is usually within 5-15 days after conditioning regimens and transplantation, when the patient is profoundly neutropenic.
  • Acute graft-versus-host disease usually manifests 15-20 days after transplantation when engraftment occurs and is primarily erythematous and ulcerative without evidence of striations.
  • Leukoplakia may be misdiagnosed as chronic GVHD and must be biopsied, since these patients are at high risk for oral cancer because of immunosuppression.

Best Tests

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Management Pearls

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Therapy

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References

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Last Reviewed:02/01/2017
Last Updated:11/16/2022
Copyright © 2024 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.
Chronic graft-versus-host disease - Oral Mucosal Lesion
See also in: Overview,Nail and Distal Digit
A medical illustration showing key findings of Chronic graft-versus-host disease : Alkaline phosphatase elevated, ALT elevated, AST elevated, Oral white plaque, Arthralgia, Dry eyes
Clinical image of Chronic graft-versus-host disease - imageId=6320846. Click to open in gallery.  caption: 'Sclerodactyly with some pink, scaly, and eroded plaques on the fingertips. Note the thinned thumbnail and scattered hyperkeratotic papules on the palm.'
Sclerodactyly with some pink, scaly, and eroded plaques on the fingertips. Note the thinned thumbnail and scattered hyperkeratotic papules on the palm.
Copyright © 2024 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.