Since its regulatory approval in 1995, mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) has largely replaced azathioprine (AZA) as the anti-metabolite immunosuppressive of choice in kidney transplantation. While the initial industry-sponsored clinical trials suggested strong reductions in the incidence of acute rejection in the first six months post transplantation, long-term follow-up studies have failed to demonstrate a similar degree of benefit in overall graft and patient survival. In addition, several subsequent studies have raised questions on the potential attenuating effects of calcineurin inhibitor choice on MMF efficacy when compared to AZA. This review will revisit the question of whether the available evidence continues to support the superiority of MMF over AZA in kidney transplantation outcomes while comprehensively reviewing the available evidence from clinical trial data, systematic reviews, and registry studies.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Bertram Kasiske has received financial support for the development of educational programs for MEDSCAPE® that was funded by Astellas®, and Rockpointe® that was funded by Astellas® and Novartis®.