A randomized trial of inhaled cyclosporine in lung-transplant recipients

N Engl J Med. 2006 Jan 12;354(2):141-50. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa043204.


Background: Conventional regimens of immunosuppressive drugs often do not prevent chronic rejection after lung transplantation. Topical delivery of cyclosporine in addition to conventional systemic immunosuppression might help prevent acute and chronic rejection events.

Methods: We conducted a single-center, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of inhaled cyclosporine initiated within six weeks after transplantation and given in addition to systemic immunosuppression. A total of 58 patients were randomly assigned to inhale either 300 mg of aerosol cyclosporine (28 patients) or aerosol placebo (30 patients) three days a week for the first two years after transplantation. The primary end point was the rate of histologic acute rejection.

Results: The rates of acute rejection of grade 2 or higher were similar in the cyclosporine and placebo groups: 0.44 episode (95 percent confidence interval, 0.31 to 0.62) vs. 0.46 episode (95 percent confidence interval, 0.33 to 0.64) per patient per year, respectively (P=0.87 by Poisson regression). Survival was improved with aerosolized cyclosporine, with 3 deaths among patients receiving cyclosporine and 14 deaths among patients receiving placebo (relative risk of death, 0.20; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.06 to 0.70; P=0.01). Chronic rejection-free survival also improved with cyclosporine, as determined by spirometric analysis (10 events in the cyclosporine group and 20 events in the placebo group; relative risk of chronic rejection, 0.38; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.18 to 0.82; P=0.01) and histologic analysis (6 vs. 19 events, respectively; relative risk, 0.27; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.11 to 0.67; P=0.005). The risks of nephrotoxic effects and opportunistic infection were similar for patients in the cyclosporine group and the placebo group.

Conclusions: Inhaled cyclosporine did not improve the rate of acute rejection, but it did improve survival and extend periods of chronic rejection-free survival. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00268515.).

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cyclosporine / administration & dosage*
  • Cyclosporine / adverse effects
  • Cyclosporine / therapeutic use
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Graft Rejection / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Infections / etiology
  • Lung Transplantation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Regression Analysis
  • Survival Analysis


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Cyclosporine

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00268515