Conversion to sirolimus and mycophenolate can attenuate the progression of bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome and improves renal function after lung transplantation.Transplantation 2006; 81(3):355-60T
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.
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
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
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.