Alemtuzumab in the treatment of refractory acute rejection and bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome after human lung transplantation.


Journal Article

Despite substantial improvements in early survival after lung transplantation, refractory acute rejection (RAR) and bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS) remain major contributors to transplant-related morbidity and mortality. We have utilized alemtuzumab, a humanized anti-CD52 antibody which results in potent lymphocyte depletion, in consecutive patients with RAR (n = 12) or BOS (n = 10). All patients failed conventional treatment with methylprednisolone and antithymocyte globulin and received strict infection prophylaxis. Alemtuzumab significantly improved histological rejection scores in RAR. Total rejection grade/biopsy was 1.98 +/- 0.25 preceding alemtuzumab versus 0.33 +/- 0.14 posttreatment, p-value <0.0001 (with a similar number of biopsies/patient per respective time interval). Freedom from BOS was observed in 65% of RAR patients 2 years after alemtuzumab treatment. Although there was no statistically significant change in forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) before and after alemtuzumab treatment in patients with BOS, a stabilization or improvement in BOS grade occurred in 70% of patients. Patient survival 2 years after alemtuzumab for BOS was 69%. Despite a dramatic decline in CD4 counts in alemtuzumab-treated patients, only one patient developed a lethal infection. Thus, we provide the first evidence that alemtuzumab is a potentially useful therapy in lung transplant recipients with RAR or BOS.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Reams, BD; Musselwhite, LW; Zaas, DW; Steele, MP; Garantziotis, S; Eu, PC; Snyder, LD; Curl, J; Lin, SS; Davis, RD; Palmer, SM

Published Date

  • December 2007

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 7 / 12

Start / End Page

  • 2802 - 2808

PubMed ID

  • 17924993

Pubmed Central ID

  • 17924993

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1600-6135

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/j.1600-6143.2007.02000.x


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States