Immunosuppression in lung transplantation

J Thorac Dis. 2014 Aug;6(8):1039-53. doi: 10.3978/j.issn.2072-1439.2014.04.23.


Lung transplantation can be a life-saving procedure for those with end-stage lung diseases. Unfortunately, long term graft and patient survival are limited by both acute and chronic allograft rejection, with a median survival of just over 6 years. Immunosuppressive regimens are employed to reduce the rate of rejection, and while protocols vary from center to center, conventional maintenance therapy consists of triple drug therapy with a calcineurin inhibitor (cyclosporine or tacrolimus), antiproliferative agents [azathioprine (AZA), mycophenolate, sirolimus (srl), everolimus (evl)], and corticosteroids (CS). Roughly 50% of lung transplant centers also utilize induction therapy, with polyclonal antibody preparations [equine or rabbit anti-thymocyte globulin (ATG)], interleukin 2 receptor antagonists (IL2RAs) (daclizumab or basiliximab), or alemtuzumab. This review summarizes these agents and the data surrounding their use in lung transplantation, as well as additional common and novel therapies in lung transplantation. Despite the progression of the management of lung transplant recipients, they continue to be at high risk of treatment-related complications, and poor graft and patient survival. Randomized clinical trials are needed to allow for the development of better agents, regimens and techniques to address above mentioned issues and reduce morbidity and mortality among lung transplant recipients.

Keywords: Lung transplantation; immunosuppression; review.

Publication types

  • Review