Objective: This study examined the effects of anti-thymocyte globulin (ATG) and daclizumab immunosuppressive induction therapy on the frequency and severity of acute cellular rejection in lung transplantation patients.
Method: A retrospective analysis was conducted of 335 lung transplantation patients from a single center in the period 1992 to 2003. Patients completed standard ATG (Merieux, 2.5 mg/kg/day, or ATGAM, 12.5 mg/kg/day, for 3 consecutive days) (n = 151) or daclizumab (5 fortnightly treatments at a dose of 1 mg/kg) (n = 151) induction therapy. End points included acute cellular rejection requiring treatment (> or = A2), and moderate/severe acute cellular rejection (A3/A4).
Results: The percentage of patients free of rejection requiring treatment (< A2) was 32% at 3 months and 26% at 2 years after transplantation in the ATG group and 9% and 0%, respectively, in the daclizumab group (p < 0.0001). Compared with the ATG group, a significantly higher proportion of patients in the daclizumab group experienced 3 or more episodes of acute cellular rejection > or = A2 during the first 3 months (p < 0.0001) and the entire 2-year follow-up (p < 0.0001). The daclizumab group also experienced more moderate/severe acute cellular rejection episodes compared with the ATG group during the first 3 months (p = 0.005). Cox regression analysis demonstrated ATG induction therapy was independently associated with a significantly longer duration of freedom from acute cellular rejection requiring treatment (> or = A2) (p < 0.001).
Conclusion: After lung transplantation, ATG induction appears to be superior to daclizumab induction in the reduction in the incidence and severity of acute cellular rejection.