Kidney transplantation without calcineurin inhibitor drugs: a prospective, randomized trial of sirolimus versus cyclosporine1


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Abstract

Background. Progressive nephrotoxicity caused by calcineurin inhibitor drugs contributes to the long-term decline in renal function in kidney transplant patients.Methods. We conducted a randomized, prospective trial of calcineurin inhibitor drug avoidance in 61 adult primary kidney transplant recipients. Each patient received induction therapy with 20 mg basiliximab on days 0 and 4, and maintenance therapy with mycophenolate mofetil 1 g two times per day and steroids. Thirty-one patients received sirolimus, 5 mg daily after a 15-mg loading dose. Doses were then concentration-controlled to keep 24-hr trough levels at 10 to 12 ng/mL for 6 months and 5 to 10 ng/mL thereafter. Thirty patients began cyclosporine therapy at 6 to 8 mg/kg per day in divided doses and were then concentration-controlled to keep 12-hr troughs of 200 to 250 ng/mL.Results. Mean follow-up is 18.1 months (range, 12–26 months). The percentages of 1-year patient survival, graft survival, and biopsy-confirmed acute rejection rates were not significantly different between the sirolimus-treated patients (96.7%, 96.7%, and 6.4%, respectively) and the cyclosporine-treated patients (100%, 95.4%, and 16.6%, respectively). At 6 and 12 months, respectively, the sirolimus-treated patients enjoyed significantly better (P =0.008 and P =0.004) mean serum creatinine levels (1.29 and 1.32 mg/dL) and calculated creatinine clearances (77.8 and 81.1 mL/min) than cyclosporine-treated patients (1.74 and 1.78 mg/dL, and 64.1 and 61.1 mL/min, respectively). Sirolimus-treated recipients have significantly (P =0.001) higher 1-year trough levels of mycophenolic acid (4.16 ng/mL) than cyclosporine-treated patients (1.93 ng/mL). Sirolimus also delays the repopulation of basiliximab-depleted CD25+ T cells compared with cyclosporine.Conclusions. Calcineurin inhibitor drug avoidance with basiliximab induction and sirolimus provides comparable 1-year transplant outcomes, with significantly better renal function in primary renal allograft recipients.

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