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Transplant Proc. 2009 Jun;41(5):1821-4. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2008.11.016.

Tacrolimus versus cyclosporine for adult lung transplant recipients: a meta-analysis.

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  • 1Department of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, Chohngqing Xinqiao Hospital, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing, China.



Tacrolimus and cyclosporine are the 2 major immunosuppressants for lung transplantation. Several studies have compared these 2 drugs, but the outcomes were not consistent. The aim of this meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) was to compare the beneficial and harmful effects of tacrolimus and cyclosporine as the primary immunosuppressant for lung transplant recipients.


We conducted searches of electronic databases and manual bibliographies. We performed a meta-analysis of all RCTs comparing tacrolimus with cyclosporine as primary immunosuppression for lung transplant recipients. Extracted, pooled data for mortality, acute rejection, withdrawals, and adverse events were analyzed using Mantel-Haenszel tests with a random effects model.


Three RCTs including 297 patients were assessed in this study. Mortality at 1 year or more was comparable between lung recipients treated with tacrolimus and cyclosporine (odds ratio [OR], 0.94; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.42-2.10; P = .88). Tacrolimus-treated patients experienced fewer incidences of acute rejection (MD = -0.14; 95% CI, -0.28 to -0.01; P = .04). Pooled analysis showed a trend toward a lower risk of bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS) among tacrolimus-treated patients, although it did not reach significances (OR, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.25-1.12; P = .10). Fewer patients stopped tacrolimus than cyclosporine (OR, 0.12; 95% CI, 0.03-0.48; P = .003). The rate of new-onset diabetes was higher among the tacrolimus group (OR, 3.69; 95% CI, 1.17-11.62; P = .03). The incidence of hypertension and renal dysfunction were comparable in these 2 groups (OR, 0.24; 95% CI, 0.03-1.70; P = .15; and OR, 1.67; 95% CI, 0.70-3.96; P = .25, respectively). There was a trend toward lower risk of malignancy in tacrolimus-treated patients, although it did not reach significance either (OR, 0.19; 95% CI, 0.03-1.13; P = .07). The incidence of infection was comparable in these 2 groups (MD = -0.29, 95% CI, -0.68 to 0.11; P = .16).


Using tacrolimus as primary immunosuppressant for lung transplant recipient resulted in comparable survival and reduction in acute rejection episodes when compared with cyclosporine.

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