There are limited data as to the effectiveness of mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) plus high-dose corticosteroids for the treatment of acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD), and even less data regarding the pharmacokinetic disposition and exposure-response relationship of MMF in individuals with GVHD. MMF pharmacokinetics were studied in a multicenter Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network randomized phase II trial evaluating the effectiveness of MMF as one of 4 agents added to corticosteroids as treatment of aGVHD. Thirty-two of the patients randomized to receive MMF underwent pharmacokinetic sampling in weeks 1 and 2 were studied. Mean age was 41 ± 13.6 years. Twenty one (65.6%), 5 (15.6%), 6 (18.8%) patients had a complete response (CR), partial response (PR) or lesser response by day 28, respectively. Twenty-five (78.1%), 2 (6.3%), 5 (15.6%) patients had a CR, PR, or other response by day 56 to treatment, respectively. Mycophenolic acid (MPA) pharmacokinetic measurements from weeks 1 and 2 did not correlate with CR at either day 28 or day 56 (P > .07); however, if the mean of weeks 1 and 2 total MPA troughs was >0.5 μg/mL or that of an unbound trough was >0.015 μg/mL, then a significantly greater proportion achieved CR + PR at days 28 and 56. CR + PR at day 28 was observed in 19 of 19 patients (100%) with a mean total trough >0.5 mg/mL, but in only 7 of 13 (54%) with a mean total trough ≤0.5 μg/mL (P = .002). Similarly, CR + PR at day 28 was seen in 15 of 15 patients (100%) with an unbound trough concentration >0.015 μg/mL, but in only 11 of 17 (65%) with an unbound trough concentration ≤0.015 μg/mL (P = .02). There was no association between the pharmacokinetic measures and risk of infection by day 90 or overall survival (OS) at day 180 postrandomization. About one-half of subjects did not achieve the favorable MPA total and unbound trough concentrations. The current practice of MMF 1 gm twice daily dosing provides low plasma concentrations in many patients. Higher doses may improve the efficacy of MMF as aGVHD therapy.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Financial disclosure: This work was supported in part by grants from Roche Laboratories and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute/National Cancer Institute–funded Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network.