Effective pharmacological strategies employed in allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation should prevent serious chronic graft-versus-host disease and facilitate donor-recipient immune tolerance. Based on demonstrated pro-tolerogenic activity, sirolimus (rapamycin) is an agent with promise to achieve these goals. In a long-term follow-up analysis of a randomized phase II trial comparing sirolimus/tacrolimus versus methotrexate/tacrolimus for graft-versus-host disease prevention in matched sibling or unrelated donor transplant, we examined the impact of prolonged sirolimus administration (≥ 1 year post-transplant). Median follow-up time for surviving patients at time of this analysis was 41 months (range 27-60) for sirolimus/tacrolimus and 49 months (range 29-63) for methotrexate/tacrolimus. Sirolimus/tacrolimus patients had significantly lower National Institutes of Health Consensus moderate-severe chronic graft-versus-host disease (34% vs. 65%; P=0.004) and late acute graft-versus-host disease (20% vs. 43%; P=0.04). While sirolimus/tacrolimus patients had lower prednisone exposure and earlier discontinuation of tacrolimus (median time to tacrolimus discontinuation 368 days vs. 821 days; P=0.002), there was no significant difference in complete immune suppression discontinuation (60-month estimate: 43% vs. 31%; P=0.78). Prolonged sirolimus administration represents a viable approach to mitigate risk for moderate-severe chronic and late acute graft-versushost disease. Further study of determinants of successful immune suppression discontinuation is needed.
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© 2015 Ferrata Storti Foundation.