To evaluate the association of long-term continuous (minimum 1 year) mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) vs. azathioprine (AZA) therapy with the incidence of late acute rejection, we analyzed 47 693 primary renal allograft recipients reported to the United States Renal Data System between 1988 and 1998.
The primary study endpoint was acute rejection beyond 1 year after transplantation. Univariate Kaplan-Meier analysis and multivariate Cox proportional hazard models were used to investigate the risk of reaching the study endpoints. All multivariate analyses were corrected for potential confounding covariates.
Mycophenolate mofetil was associated with a 65% decreased risk of developing late acute rejection as compared to AZA (RR = 0.35, CI 0.27–0.45, p < 0.001). The incidence of acute rejection episodes at 2 and 3 years post-transplantation was significantly lower in the MMF group (0.9% at 2 years, 1.1% at 3 years) than the AZA group (6.1% at 2 years, 9.3% at 3 years). In the primary vs. repeat late rejection analysis, MMF patients exhibited a decreased late acute rejection risk of 72% (RR = 0.28, p < 0.001) and 60%, respectively (RR = 0.40, p < 0.001). In African Americans, the late acute rejection risk was 70% lower in MMF patients than AZA patients (RR = 0.30, p < 0.001).
Further study is indicated to determine the optimal duration of MMF therapy after renal allograft transplantation.