Mycophenolate mofetil for the treatment of acute and chronic GVHD is effective and well tolerated but induces a high risk of infectious complications: a series of 21 BM or PBSC transplant patients

Bone Marrow Transplant. 2002 Sep;30(5):287-95. doi: 10.1038/sj.bmt.1703633.


The use of mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) for prophylaxis of aGVHD and/or for treatment of acute or chronic GVHD is increasing. However, the benefit of MMF as an alternative to commonly used immunosuppressive agents still needs to be assessed. We ran a retrospective study on 21 consecutive patients (median age, 36 years; range, 20-63) with aGVHD or extensive cGVHD following related (17) or unrelated (4) matched donor SCT (BM, 16; PBSC, 5) who received MMF (2 g/day) because of intolerance to or failure of CsA-containing combinations. Four of the six patients with aGVHD responded, and the response rate was 69% in cGVHD patients. We observed neither significant differences in terms of response rate for skin, liver and bowel nor dissociated response in cases of multiple organ involvement (67% of the patients). Response was the same for lichenoid and sclerodermatous skin cGVHD subtypes. No adverse effects, except diarrhea (three patients), were observed. However, 22 opportunistic or serious viral or bacterial infections occurred in 10 patients. Analysis of trough plasma levels showed a trend for a higher mean MPA concentration in patients responding to MMF. Our study highlights the high risk of infectious complications induced by the administration of MMF, an otherwise efficient and well-tolerated treatment for GVHD.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / administration & dosage
  • Biotransformation
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation / adverse effects
  • Chronic Disease
  • Drug Evaluation
  • Female
  • Graft vs Host Disease / complications
  • Graft vs Host Disease / drug therapy*
  • Graft vs Host Disease / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mycophenolic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Mycophenolic Acid / analogs & derivatives
  • Mycophenolic Acid / pharmacokinetics
  • Opportunistic Infections / chemically induced*
  • Opportunistic Infections / diagnosis
  • Opportunistic Infections / microbiology
  • Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplantation / adverse effects
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Mycophenolic Acid