RATIONALE: Beclomethasone may be an effective treatment for graft-versus-host disease.
PURPOSE: Phase I/II trial to study the effectiveness of beclomethasone in treating patients
who have graft-versus-host disease of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, or colon.
OBJECTIVES: I. Determine the frequency of treatment success in patients with intestinal
graft-versus-host disease with contraindications to high-dose immunosuppressive therapy
treated with beclomethasone. II. Determine the frequency of adverse events related to the
use of this drug in these patients. III. Assess the natural history and outcome of the
medical problem for which high-dose immunosuppressive therapy was a contraindication.
OUTLINE: Patients receive oral beclomethasone 4 times daily for 28 days. Treatment may
repeat for an additional 28 days as needed. Patients are interviewed weekly to assess
treatment success and adverse events. Patients are followed at 1 and 2 weeks.
PROJECTED ACCRUAL: A total of 40-100 patients will be accrued for this study within 3 years.
DISEASE CHARACTERISTICS: Histologically proven intestinal (esophagus, stomach, small
intestine, or colon) graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) exhibiting symptoms such as nausea,
vomiting, anorexia, diarrhea, or abdominal pain in the absence of another explanation for
these symptoms Specific contraindications to high-dose immunosuppressive therapy, such as:
Recurrent malignant disorder for which an allogeneic antitumor effect is desired
Aspergillus or other fungal infection Severe myopathy, hyperglycemia, bone problems, or
neuropsychiatric symptoms related to corticosteroid use Thrombotic thrombocytopenic
purpura or hemolytic uremic syndrome related to immunosuppressive therapy Epstein-Barr
virus-related immunoproliferative disease No GVHD unresponsive to prior high-dose
immunosuppressive therapy No concurrent infections involving the intestinal tract such as:
Salmonella Shigella Clostridium difficile (toxin positive) Rotavirus Giardia lamblia
Cytomegalovirus by shell vial culture
PATIENT CHARACTERISTICS: Age: 5 to 75 Performance status: Not specified Life expectancy:
Not specified Hematopoietic: Platelet count adequate Hepatic: Not specified Renal: Not
specified Other: Able to swallow oral capsules No persistent vomiting of all oral intake
No multiorgan failure No sepsis syndrome, including positive bacterial or fungal cultures
within 72 hours of study
PRIOR CONCURRENT THERAPY: Biologic therapy: At least 7 days since prior anti-thymocyte
globulin Chemotherapy: Concurrent cyclosporine, methotrexate, tacrolimus, mycophenolate
mofetil, or prednisone allowed if plan in place to taper or discontinue Endocrine therapy:
See Disease Characteristics Radiotherapy: Not specified Surgery: Not specified Other: At
least 7 days since prior investigational agents At least 7 days since prior
immunosuppressive agents At least 24 hours since prior drugs that suppress gastric acid
secretion (e.g., H2 receptor antagonists or omeprazole) No concurrent drugs that suppress
gastric acid secretion