Daclizumab induction and maintenance steroid-free immunosuppression with mycophenolate mofetil and tacrolimus to prevent acute rejection of hepatic allografts

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SummarySteroid-free immunosuppressive regimens reduce corticosteroid-related side effects in liver transplant recipients although their efficacy is very variable. We evaluated the efficacy and safety of a steroid-free regimen in a 6-month, open-label, multicenter, pilot study, which involved 102 liver transplant patients treated with daclizumab (2 mg/kg within 6 h following transplant and 1 mg/kg on day 7), mycophenolate mofetil (MMF, 1 g b.i.d) and tacrolimus (trough levels of 5–15 ng/ml in the first month and 5–10 ng/ml thereafter). One intra-operative dose of methylprednisolone was administered. At 6 months, the acute rejection rate was 9.8%, and patient and graft survival rates were 96% and 95%, respectively. Acute rejection rates were similar for hepatitis C-positive patients (8.6%) and hepatitis C-negative patients (10.4%). Infections occurred in 22% of patients; most cases were considered mild or moderate. Post-transplantation hypertension and diabetes mellitus developed in 37% and 14% of patients, respectively, during the study period, but were markedly less frequent (8% and 6%, respectively) at 6 months. Hypercholesterolemia was observed in only 2% of patients. In conclusion, the steroid-free immunosuppressive regimen of daclizumab, MMF, and tacrolimus effectively prevents acute rejection after liver transplantation without decreasing safety.

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