Pediatric Vulvovaginal Graft-Versus-Host Disease: A Retrospective Cohort Study and Literature Review

Published:April 23, 2022DOI:


      Study Objective

      To assess genital symptomatology, characterize the findings of genital examination, and describe the incidence and treatment of vulvovaginal graft-versus-host disease (vvGvHD) in girls and adolescents after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT).


      Retrospective cohort.


      Metropolitan-area children's hospital.


      Female allogeneic HSCT recipients ages 0 to 22 years.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Genital symptoms, genital examination, diagnosis, and treatment of vvGvHD.


      A total of 57 participants were included in the analysis. The median age at the time of HSCT was 10 years (range 4 months−23 years). Most (n = 40, 71%) underwent transplant for a nonmalignant condition, most commonly sickle cell anemia (n = 19, 33%). The median time of onset of GvHD post HSCT was 62 days (IQR = 42 to 151 days). The most common initial site of GvHD was skin (n = 21, 64%), followed by GI tract (n = 10, 30%). Three patients (5%) were diagnosed with vvGvHD. The time of onset of vvGvHD post HSCT ranged from 62 to 1565 days. One patient (33%) was asymptomatic at the time of diagnosis. There was no difference in diagnosis of vvGvHD when race (P = 0.15), age at allogeneic HSCT (P = 0.64), nonmalignant vs malignant indication (P = 0.21), source of stem cells (P = 0.25), partial vs full human leukocyte antigens (HLA) donor match (P = 0.34), and GvHD prophylaxis regimen (P = 0.18) were compared. None had isolated vvGvHD. Vulvovaginal GvHD was preceded by skin GvHD in 1 patient, was preceded by lung GvHD in 1 patient, and occurred concurrently with skin GvHD in the third patient.


      Pediatric vvGvHD can occur within the first 100 days after transplant and can be asymptomatic. Routine gynecologic evaluation post allogeneic HSCT in children and adolescents should include a thorough review of vulvovaginal symptoms and a gynecologic exam for the detection and treatment of vvGvHD.


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