Comparison of mycophenolate mofetil and azathioprine for prevention of bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome in de novo lung transplant recipients

Transplantation. 2006 Apr 15;81(7):998-1003. doi: 10.1097/


Background: There are no data on the effects of mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) on the incidence of bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS) in lung-transplant patients. This study attempted to determine whether MMF reduces the incidence of BOS in de novo lung transplant recipients compared with azathioprine (AZA).

Methods: This prospective, randomized, open-label, multicenter study compared the effects of MMF with AZA in combination with induction therapy, cyclosporine (Neoral) and corticosteroids in patients receiving their first lung transplant. Primary endpoint was incidence of BOS at 3 years. Secondary endpoints were incidence of acute rejection, time to first rejection event, and survival.

Results: The incidence of acute rejection and the time to first rejection event at 1 and 3 years did not differ between groups (54.1% vs. 53.8% and 56.6% vs. 60.3% for MMF and AZA respectively). Survival at 1 year tended to be better in patients receiving MMF (88 vs. 80%, P = 0.07). At year 3, there was no difference in survival or in the incidence, severity or time to acquisition of BOS between the two groups. Treatment was generally well tolerated, however more patients withdrew from AZA treatment than from MMF (59.6% vs. 46.5%, P = 0.02). As a result, there was an imbalance in the observation times of the two groups (876 +/- 395 vs. 947 +/- 326 days).

Conclusions: No differences were seen in the incidence of acute rejection or BOS in lung transplant recipients treated with MMF or AZA. This null result may have been influenced by the shorter observation time for AZA patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Azathioprine / adverse effects
  • Azathioprine / therapeutic use*
  • Bronchiolitis Obliterans / etiology
  • Bronchiolitis Obliterans / prevention & control*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Graft Rejection / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Lung Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Lung Transplantation* / immunology
  • Middle Aged
  • Mycophenolic Acid / adverse effects
  • Mycophenolic Acid / analogs & derivatives*
  • Mycophenolic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Prospective Studies
  • Syndrome


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Mycophenolic Acid
  • Azathioprine