Background: The aim of this prospective study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of extracorporeal photopheresis (ECP) in patients with bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS) after lung transplantation and to identify factors predicting treatment response.
Methods: The study was performed at a single center and consisted of a cohort of 1,012 lung transplant recipients (November 1989-June 2010). A total of 194 patients developed BOS after a mean of 1,293 ± 1,008 days (range, 99-4,949 days) and received established treatment, and 51 patients received additional ECP.
Results: Thirty-one (61%) of the ECP-treated patients responded to the therapy and showed sustained stabilization (forced expiratory volume in 1 second range, -5% to 5% vs baseline at start of ECP) of lung function over 6 months. Responders to ECP showed significantly greater survival and less need for retransplantation (p = 0.001) than non-responders. Factors associated with an inferior treatment response were cystic fibrosis as underlying lung disease and a longer time between transplantation and development of BOS. No side effects were observed after ECP. Compared with BOS patients not treated with ECP, the ECP responders showed an improved graft survival (p = 0.05).
Conclusions: These results confirm and suggest that early use of ECP could be an effective adjunct treatment for patients who develop BOS after lung transplantation.
Copyright © 2012 International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.