Prospective Randomized Trial of Maintenance Immunosuppression With Rapid Discontinuation of Prednisone in Adult Kidney Transplantation

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Abstract

Rapid discontinuation of prednisone (RDP) has minimized steroid-related complications following kidney transplant (KT). This trial compares long-term (10-year) outcomes with three different maintenance immunosuppressive protocols following RDP in adult KT. Recipients (n = 440; 73% living donor) from March 2001 to April 2006 were randomized into one of three arms: cyclosporine (CSA) and mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) (CSA/MMF, n = 151); high-level tacrolimus (TAC, 8–12 μg/L) and low-level sirolimus (SIR, 3–7 μg/L) (TACH/SIRL, n = 149) or low-level TAC (3–7 μg/L) and high-level SIR (8–12 μg/L) (TACL/SIRH, n = 140). Median follow-up was ˜7 years. There were no differences between arms in 10-year actuarial patient, graft and death-censored graft survival or in allograft function. There were no differences in the 10-year actuarial rates of biopsy-proven acute rejection (30%, 26% and 20% in CSA/MMF, TACH/SIRL and TACL/SIRH) and chronic rejection (38%, 35% and 31% in CSA/MMF, TACH/SIRL and TACL/SIRH). Rates of new-onset diabetes mellitus were higher with TACH/SIRL (p = 0.04), and rates of anemia were higher with TACH/SIRL and TACL/SIRH (p = 0.04). No differences were found in the overall rates of 16 other post-KT complications. These data indicate that RDP-based protocol yield acceptable 10-year outcomes, but side effects differ based on the maintenance regimen used and should be considered when optimizing immunosuppression following RDP.

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