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Retrospective analysis of the correlation between tacrolimus concentrations measured in whole blood and variations of blood cell counts in patients undergoing allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation
  1. Naoki Yoshikawa,
  2. Shuhei Urata,
  3. Kazuya Yasuda,
  4. Hiroshi Sekiya,
  5. Yasutoshi Hirabara,
  6. Manabu Okumura,
  7. Ryuji Ikeda
  1. Department of Pharmacy, University of Miyazaki Hospital, Miyazaki, Japan
  1. Correspondence to Dr Naoki Yoshikawa, Department of Pharmacy, University of Miyazaki Hospital, Miyazaki 889-1692,Japan; naoki_yoshikawa{at}


Objective Tacrolimus is administered to patients undergoing haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) as prophylaxis for graft-versus-host disease. As a high blood tacrolimus concentration within a narrow therapeutic range must be maintained after HSCT, therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) is necessary. We investigated the correlation between blood tacrolimus concentration and blood cell count in HSCT patients to assess how changes in blood cell count affect tacrolimus TDM.

Methods A retrospective analysis was performed for 24 patients who underwent allogeneic HSCT and received tacrolimus. The correlation between variations in blood tacrolimus concentration and blood cell count was evaluated for three consecutive weeks, starting 1 week after HSCT.

Results Variations in blood tacrolimus concentration were significantly correlated with variations in red blood cell (RBC) count, haemoglobin level and haematocrit value, but not with variations in white blood cell or platelet counts. Further, the above variations were significantly correlated in patients undergoing cord blood transplantation and peripheral blood stem cell transplantation, but not in those undergoing bone marrow transplantation.

Conclusions These findings demonstrate that RBC count is associated with variations in blood tacrolimus concentration, with the relevance of this association depending on the source of transfused stem cells. Thus, variations in RBC count might be useful for tacrolimus TDM.

  • tacrolimus
  • red blood cells
  • haematocrit
  • haematopoietic stem cell transplant
  • therapeutic drug monitoring
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