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Alexander Kaltenborn, Harald Schrem
(Federal Armed Forces Medical Center Hannover, Hannover, Germany)
Ann Transplant 2013; 18:685-696
Liver transplantation is the only live-saving, curative treatment for various end-stage liver diseases, and it has excellent survival rates. Mycophenolate mofetil is widely used as co-medication for immunosuppression after liver transplantation, especially to allow a sparing effect on calcineurin-inhibitors, thus reducing their numerous adverse effects. It improves both graft and patient survival. The properties of its active metabolite, mycophenolic acid, are diverse: inhibition of de novo purine synthesis and selective lymphocyte inhibition, anti-tumoral, antiviral, anti-angioneoplastic, and vasculoprotective mechanisms are described and summarized in this review.
The most common adverse effects of mycophenolate mofetil are gastrointestinal complaints such as diarrhea, which often lead to dose-reduction or withdrawal of mycophenolate mofetil. A newer, enteric-coated formulation is available, which is meant to reduce the gastrointestinal adverse effects. Mycophenolate mofetil does not relevantly interact with other common drugs. The question of whether therapeutic drug monitoring allows optimized dosing strategies cannot be satisfyingly answered yet. The optimal partner-immunosuppressant seems to be tacrolimus, especially in low doses.
This tutorial review provides an overview of recent studies exploring the role of mycophenolate mofetil in liver transplantation with regards to its development, mechanism of action, and actual controversies such as therapeutic drug monitoring or de novo malignancy after transplantation.
Keywords: enteric-coated mycophenolate, Solid Organ Transplantation, de novo malignancy, Mycophenolic Acid, Cellcept, myfortic