Mycophenolate mofetil monotherapy in liver transplant recipients: A single center experience


  • Kyrsten D. Fairbanks,

    1. Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, The Johns Hopkins University Hospital, Baltimore, MD
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  • Paul J. Thuluvath

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, The Johns Hopkins University Hospital, Baltimore, MD
    • The Johns Hopkins University Hospital, Room 428, 1830 Building, 1830 E. Monument Street, Baltimore, MD 21205
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    • Telephone: (410) 614-5389; FAX: (410) 614-9612


The long-term use of calcineurin inhibitors (CIs) is associated with significant morbidity in liver transplant recipients. Although mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) is well tolerated, two small studies reported an unacceptable rate of acute allograft rejection in liver transplant recipients receiving MMF monotherapy. In this study, we retrospectively investigated the safety and efficacy of MMF monotherapy in liver transplant recipients. We reviewed the medical records of all patients who underwent liver transplant at our institution. Sixteen patients were identified who received MMF either as monotherapy (n = 13) or with corticosteroids (n = 3; 2 of them for other comorbid conditions), and these patients were studied to determine the efficacy and complications. Fifteen (15/16) patients were converted from a CI to MMF because of renal insufficiency. Patients were converted to MMF monotherapy after a median of 2,056 days (range, 606-5,893) after liver transplantation. The median postconversion follow-up was 668 days (range, 60-1,509). Four patients required dialysis despite conversion; of those patients not requiring dialysis, serum creatinine stabilized and showed a trend toward improvement (2.51 ± 1.12 mg/dL to 1.85 ± .58 mg/dL, P = .1). However, there were 3 episodes (47, 107, and 1,203 days after conversion) of severe, irreversible allograft rejection after conversion resulting in death in 2 patients and necessitating retransplantation in 1 patient. There were no patient characteristics, except perhaps African-American race, that predicted the development of rejection. In conclusion, MMF monotherapy was associated with a significant risk (19%) of unpredictable, severe, and irreversible allograft rejection even among long-term transplant survivors. Caution should be exercised before converting patients to MMF monotherapy. (Liver Transpl 2004;10:1189–1194.)