The impact of cytolytic therapy on bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome

H. Date, J. P. Lynch, S. Sundaresan, G. A. Patterson, E. P. Trulock

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75 Scopus citations


Background: Bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS) is the major cause of morbidity and death after lung transplantation. Therapy has focused on augmented immunosuppression with a variety of agents. Although transient responses are often achieved, sustained remission has been unusual. The outcome of cytolytic therapy for BOS at our center has been analyzed and is reported. Methods: Between July 1988 and July 1994, 233 patients underwent lung transplantation at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Among 207 recipients (88.8%) who survived more than 3 months, 81 recipients (39%) had development of BOS; 48 of these patients underwent 64 courses of treatment with a cytolytic agent (antilymphocyte globulin, antithymocyte globulin, or OKT3 monoclonal antibody). The cases of BOS were retrospectively analyzed to determine the impact of cytolytic therapy. Results: The 4-year survival rate was significantly greater in recipients without BOS than in those with BOS (82.8% vs 46.0%; p < .05). Various clinical factors, including diagnosis, forced expiratory volume in 1 second at onset of BOS, presence or absence of pathologically proven bronchiolitis obliterans, type of transplant operation, cytomegalovirus serologic status, and cytomegalovirus pneumonia, were examined, but no significant predictor of survival after the development of BOS was discerned. The mean decrement in forced expiratory volume in 1 second was significantly reduced by cytolytic therapy (-23.5% ± 2.3% in the 3 months before therapy vs -9.9% ± 3.5% in the 3 months after the therapy; p < .002). Nevertheless, the stage of BOS progressed over time in spite of therapy in most cases, and only 4 recipients (4.9%) with BOS remained in a lower BOS stage 2 years after treatment. Conclusions: Recipients with BOS had a significantly lower survival rate than recipients without BOS. No predictor of survival after the onset of BOS was identified. Although cytolytic therapy decreased the rate of decline in pulmonary function in the 3 months after treatment, the stage of BOS ultimately progressed in most patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)869-875
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Heart and Lung Transplantation
Issue number9
StatePublished - Oct 7 1998


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