Ten-Year Results of a Randomized Trial Comparing Tacrolimus Versus Cyclosporine A in Combination With Mycophenolate Mofetil After Heart Transplantation

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Long-term results of prospective randomized trials comparing triple immunosuppressive strategies combining tacrolimus (TAC) or cyclosporine A (CsA) with mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) and steroids after heart transplantation (HTX) are rarely published. Therefore, we collected long-term follow-up data of an intervention cohort 10 years after randomization.


Ten-year follow-up data of 60 patients included in a prospective, randomized trial between 1998 and 2000 were analyzed as intention-to-treat (TAC-MMF n=30; CsA-MMF n=30). Baseline characteristics were well balanced. Cardiac allograft vasculopathy (CAV) was graduated in accordance with the new ISHLT classification.


Survival at 1, 5, and 10 years was 96.7%, 80.0%, and 66.7% for TAC-MMF and 90.0%, 83.3%, and 80.0% for CsA-MMF (P=ns). Freedom from acute rejection (AR) was significantly higher in TAC-MMF versus CsA-MMF (65.5% vs. 21.7%, log-rank 8.3, P=0.004). Freedom from ISHLT≥CAV1 after 5 and 10 years was in TAC-MMF 64.0% and 45.8%, and in CsA-MMF 36.0% (log-rank 3.0, P=0.085) and 8.0% (log-rank 9.0, P=0.003). No difference in long-term results for freedom from coronary angioplasty or stenting, renal dysfunction, diabetes mellitus, CMV infection, or malignancy was detected.


Cross-over effects because of treatment switch may result in impairment of significance between the groups. The long-term analysis resulted in a significant difference in manifestation of CAV between the groups after 10 years. Less rejection in the TAC-group might have contributed to the lower incidence of CAV. Superior freedom from AR and CAV in the TAC-MMF group did not result in better long-term survival.

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