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Transplantation. 2006 Feb 15;81(3):355-60.

Conversion to sirolimus and mycophenolate can attenuate the progression of bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome and improves renal function after lung transplantation.

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1
Department of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, Friedrich Schiller University Hospital, Jena, Germany. jgroetzner@t-online.de

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS) is the major problem after lung and heart-lung transplantation (LTx/HLTx). Sirolimus (Sir) and Mycophenolate (MMF) showed a promising efficacy in the treatment of BOS in animal models. The first clinical experience in converting LTx/HLTx-recipients with BOS from calcineurin inhibitor-(CNI)-based immunosuppression to a Sir-MMF based immunosuppression is reported herein.

METHODS:

Six LTx- and five HLTx-recipients (eight men; 0.9 to 8 years after transplantation) with CNI-based immunosuppression (plus MMF) in whom BOS was diagnosed were included in the study. Mean patient age was 37+/-13 years (range 17-62 years). Sir was started with 6 mg and continued adjusted to according target trough levels (8-14 ng/ml). Subsequently, the CNIs were tapered down and finally stopped. Follow up included self determined pulmonary function tests, microbiological screening, chest radiographs, and laboratory studies

RESULTS:

Two acute rejection episodes occurred during the study period. The incidence of infection was 2.2+/-1.3 infections/patient-year after conversion. Mean FEV1 decreased after a mean follow up of 14.8+/-1.4 months: from 2.1+/-0.7 l prior conversion to 1.3+/-0.6l after conversion (P=0.03). However, graft function remained stable in three patients and progression of BOS slowed down in three patients. Overall, 2 of 10 patients died due to ongoing BOS while awaiting retransplantation

CONCLUSIONS:

After BOS was diagnosed, conversion to MMF and Sir stabilized graft function only in some of the converted patients. Therefore, earlier administration of Sir-based immunosuppression might be a more promising approach. Whether conversion to CNI-free immunosuppression can actually ameliorate the extent or progression of BOS has to be investigated in randomized trials.

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