Rapamycin in lung transplantation: preliminary results

Transplant Proc. 2003 Aug;35(5):1974-7. doi: 10.1016/s0041-1345(03)00688-2.


Introduction: Rapamycin is a potent immunosuppressive agent with a different mechanism of action and different adverse effects from those of calcineurin inhibitors (CNIs).

Objective: To analyze our experience with rapamycin in patients undergoing lung transplantation and heart-lung transplantation in our center.

Patients and methods: Patients were treated with rapamycin when showing chronic rejection and/or toxicity associated with the CNI after lung transplantation or heartlung transplantation. Patients with chronic rejection were administered rapamycin in combination with CNIs, whereas the CNIs were eliminated in patients with toxicity.

Results: Since October 2001, 7 patients (4 women), of mean age 45+/-15 years, received treatment with rapamycin (heart-lung transplantation, 2 cases; lung transplantation, 5 cases). The indications were chronic rejection in 4 patients and CMIs toxicity in 3 patients (kidney failure in 2 cases and optic neuropathy in 1 case). Pulmonary function stabilization was observed in 3 of 4 patients receiving rapamycin for chronic rejection. In the 3 patients with CNIs toxicity elimination of these drugs did not result in pulmonary functional deterioration. Patients with kidney failure showed an improvement in creatinine levels; visual acuity improved in the patient with optic neuropathy. We observed 2 infectious complications (pneumococcal pneumonia and pulmonary aspergillosis), which resolved with treatment.

Conclusion: Rapamycin is an alternative for lung-transplant recipients who develop chronic rejection and/or CNIs toxicity.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Female
  • Graft Rejection / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Lung Transplantation / immunology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sirolimus / therapeutic use*


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Creatinine
  • Sirolimus