CellCept associated with reduced incidence of cancer, compared to AZA, following heart transplant

San Francisco, April 23, 2004 - A study presented today at an international transplant meeting showed that heart transplant patients treated with the immunosuppressant CellCept (mycophenolate mofetil) in standard immunosuppressive regimens had a significantly lower risk of developing cancer compared to those receiving non-CellCept-based treatment regimens. Presented at the annual meeting of the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation (ISHLT), the study found a 27% lower risk of cancer in CellCept-treated patients. Patients studied were part of the ISHLT Transplant Registry. "Though not derived from randomized controlled trials, these data indicate that the choice of maintenance immunosuppressive regimen may be a modifiable risk factor for the development of malignancy in heart transplant recipients," said James O'Neill, M.D., Fellow in Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplantation, Cleveland Clinic.

Previous research had shown that organ transplant recipients receiving immunosuppressive therapy are three to four times more likely to develop tumors than the general population and have an even greater risk of developing certain rare cancers.

Extensive Examination of Registry Validates CellCept Treatment
The study, Mycophenolate Mofetil and the Risk of Developing Malignancy Following Orthotopic Heart Transplantation (OHT), examined competing risk factors to determine which are associated with malignancy following OHT, and was based on 3,895 patients in the ISHLT Transplant Registry. The study examined survival without malignancy in patients taking standard immunosuppressive regimens (defined as cyclosporine or tacrolimus and azathioprine or CellCept), who underwent OHT between January 1, 1995, and December 31, 1997.

Of these patients, 703 (18%) developed malignancy during the follow-up period through June 30, 2002. The breakdown of malignancy was as follows: skin (47%), post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease (10%),

Contact: Julip Cantre

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