Pilot study of mycophenolate mofetil for treatment of kidney disease due to congenital urinary tract disorders in children

Am J Kidney Dis. 2008 Oct;52(4):706-15. doi: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2008.03.035. Epub 2008 Jun 13.


Background: Congenital uropathies account for nearly half the chronic kidney disease in children. Immune-mediated injury may contribute to progressive loss of kidney function in affected patients.

Study design: Open-label uncontrolled pilot study to determine the feasibility of treatment with the immunosuppressive drug mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) to prevent a decrease in kidney function in pediatric patients with congenital uropathies.

Setting & participants: Children treated in an outpatient tertiary-care center were eligible if they had: (1) age of 3 to 16 years, (2) glomerular filtration rate (GFR) less than 50 mL/min/1.73 m(2), and (3) a congenital genitourinary tract abnormality.

Intervention: After a 2-month run-in period, patients were prescribed MMF, 600 mg/m(2)/dose, twice daily for a 24-month treatment period.

Outcomes: The primary end point was feasibility based on the ability to recruit and retain subjects and lack of unanticipated adverse events. The secondary end point was change in GFR.

Measurements: Patients were monitored by using standard clinical laboratory tests, and GFR was determined by means of iothalamate clearance.

Results: 12 patients aged 8.9 +/- 4.8 years (10 boys, 2 girls) were treated with MMF for 18.6 +/- 8.0 months; 7 patients completed the entire treatment period. MMF dosage at the final study visit was 381 +/- 241 mg/m(2) twice daily. Gastrointestinal symptoms were the most common adverse effect. There was only 1 serious adverse event, an episode of fever and neutropenia requiring parenteral antibiotic therapy after 21 months of MMF therapy. GFR remained stable throughout the treatment period. Nutritional status, blood pressure, and serum calcium, phosphorus, and cholesterol levels were unchanged during this period.

Limitations: Insufficient power to assess the safety or efficacy of MMF therapy for patients with congenital uropathies.

Conclusion: It is feasible to study MMF as an adjunctive therapy to retard the progression of kidney disease in children with congenital uropathies. A multicenter randomized clinical trial is warranted to determine the efficacy of this novel treatment strategy.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00193635.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Kidney / physiopathology
  • Kidney Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Kidney Diseases / etiology*
  • Kidney Diseases / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Mycophenolic Acid / adverse effects
  • Mycophenolic Acid / analogs & derivatives*
  • Mycophenolic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Pilot Projects
  • Urologic Diseases / complications*
  • Urologic Diseases / congenital*


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Mycophenolic Acid

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00193635