Previous studies have suggested that tacrolimus (TAC) is more potent than cyclosporine (CSA) for prophylaxis against acute GVHD after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). However, the target blood concentrations of these drugs in these studies were not consistent with the current recommendations. Therefore, we performed a randomized controlled trial to compare CSA and TAC with target blood concentrations of 500 and 15 ng/ml, respectively, to prevent acute GVHD after unrelated HSCT. A total of 107 patients were randomized into a CSA group (n=53) or a TAC group (n=54). During the first 4 weeks after HSCT, more than 90% of the patients achieved a mean blood concentration of between 80 and 120% of the target concentration. The incidences of grade II-IV and grade III-IV acute GVHD were 39.6 and 7.5% for the CSA group and 33.3 and 9.4% for the TAC group, respectively (P=0.41 and P=0.76). Other clinical outcomes, including overall survival, disease-free survival and the incidences of relapse, non-relapse mortality, and organ toxicities, were also equivalent. We concluded that the combinations of CSA and TAC with strict dose adjustment showed similar efficacies and toxicities as prophylaxis against acute GVHD after unrelated HSCT.
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