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Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2004 Apr;10(4):246-58.

A pilot study of tacrolimus and mycophenolate mofetil graft-versus-host disease prophylaxis in childhood and adolescent allogeneic stem cell transplant recipients.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital of New York-Presbyterian, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA.


Tacrolimus (FK506)/mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) has been demonstrated to be an effective salvage therapy for steroid-resistant chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), but its effectiveness as prophylaxis for acute GVHD (aGVHD) is unknown. We investigated the safety and efficacy of FK506/MMF in preventing aGVHD and sparing the use of methotrexate and methylprednisolone in childhood and adolescent allogeneic stem cell transplant (AlloSCT) recipients. Thirty-four childhood and adolescent patients (median age, 7 years; range, 0.5-21 years; 24 males and 10 females) undergoing 37 AlloSCTs for malignant (n = 22) and nonmalignant (n = 12) disorders received FK506 (0.03 mg/kg/d by continuous intravenous infusion) and MMF (15 mg/kg per dose orally or intravenously twice daily). Stem cell sources included 22 umbilical cord blood donors (21 unrelated and 1 related), 6 related bone marrow donors, and 9 related peripheral blood donors. Malignant diagnoses included 7 acute lymphoblastic leukemias, 3 acute myeloid leukemias, 1 acute promyelocytic leukemia, 2 non-Hodgkin lymphomas, 4 Hodgkin diseases, 3 chronic myeloid leukemias, and 2 neuroblastomas; nonmalignant diagnoses included 2 beta-thalassemias, 1 sickle cell disease, 4 aplastic anemias, 1 Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, 1 Hurler syndrome, 2 hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytoses, and 1 myelodysplastic syndrome. The probability of developing grade > or =II aGVHD was 45.4% +/- 9.7% (7 related bone marrow/related peripheral blood; 5 umbilical cord blood), and for chronic GVHD it was 38.1% +/- 19.7%. FK506/MMF was well tolerated. Three patients had grade III to IV neurotoxicity (disorientation and leukoencephalopathy); 4 patients developed grade III to IV nephrotoxicity (all received concomitant nephrotoxins). Patients who achieved target mycophenolic acid levels (1.0-3.5 microg/mL) before day +30 had a significantly reduced incidence of developing grade >/=II aGVHD (16.7% +/- 15.2% versus 100%; P <.02). These results suggest that FK506/MMF is well tolerated and may be a safe and effective methotrexate- and methylprednisolone-sparing alternative GVHD prophylaxis regimen after AlloSCT. Further pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic studies are ongoing in pediatric and adolescent AlloSCT recipients to define optimal MMF dosing.

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