Chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) is a rare primary immunodeficiency characterized by recurrent life-threatening bacterial and fungal infections, granuloma formation and intestinal disease. This disease is caused by defects in NADPH oxidase, which result in the inability of phagocytes (neutrophils, monocytes and macrophages) to destroy certain microbes. The only established curative therapy for CGD is hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.
A 23-year-old Caucasian male with X-linked chronic granulomatous disease underwent a reduced-intensity conditioning, matched unrelated donor peripheral blood stem cell transplant, after which he was started on tacrolimus and mycophenolate for graft-versus-host disease prophylaxis. Seven months later, he was admitted to hospital for nutritional support secondary to odynophagia and anorexia. Upper endoscopy revealed ulcers in his esophagus, and he was initially treated with acyclovir due to the risk of CMV infection until biopsies came back negative for viral colitis. Following a sigmoidoscopy that showed nonspecific colitis, he was started on mesalamine. Although pathology showed a pattern of widespread inflammatory changes initially suggestive of CGD colitis, a peripheral blood chimerism study showed 100% donor alleles suggesting CGD remission. Since this patient’s colitis was refractory to other immunomodulators, and due to its severity, the patient underwent a partial colectomy 1 year after his HSCT and will likely require the removal of the remaining large bowel.
This case demonstrates a unique presentation of colitis in a post-transplant CGD patient. Since CGD colitis could be excluded due to the patient’s recent successful hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, a broad differential diagnosis is required for determining the etiology of this new-onset colitis in this patient with pre-existing chronic granulomatous disease. This case delineates the need for interdisciplinary care and describes a severe case of colitis after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.