BACKGROUNDHalf of the patients with chronic graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) do not achieve a complete remission with first-line therapy. No clear recommendations are available regarding second-line treatments.METHODSWe retrospectively report our single-center experience of low-dose thoracoabdominal irradiation (1-Gy TAI) in 41 patients with refractory extensive chronic GvHD from 1983 to 2000. Median time from extensive chronic GvHD to TAI was one year (median GvHD episodes before TAI, n = 4).RESULTSEighty-two percent of the patients achieved a clinical response at a median of 34 days after TAI (range, 15-180). Best response rates were observed in fasciitis (79%), and oral GvHD lesions (73%). A complete clinical response was achieved in 11 patients by 2 years postTAI. Fifty-seven percent of the patients had at least a 50% reduction of their corticosteroid daily dose by 6 months postTAI. Probability of corticosteroid discontinuation was 38% by 2 years postTAI (95% CI, 23-56%). Two-year chronic GvHD relapse incidence was 34%. Ten-year survival from irradiation was 57% (95% CI, 42-78%); patients with fasciitis, lymphocytes >1.0 x 10/L, and platelets >200 x 10/L had a better outcome.CONCLUSIONSTAI is a safe and efficient option in patients with refractory chronic GvHD, leading to a significant tapering of systemic corticosteroid dose in most cases.