Corticosteroid-Sparing and Optimization of Mycophenolic Acid Exposure in Liver Transplant Recipients Receiving Mycophenolate Mofetil and Tacrolimus: A Randomized, Multicenter Study

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Abstract

Background

We conducted a randomized multicenter open-label trial in de novo liver transplant recipients to assess the feasibility and potential benefit of a corticosteroid (CS)-free regimen coupled with tacrolimus (Tac) and dose-intensified mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) further adjusted individually.

Methods

Adult liver transplant recipients were randomized on the day of transplantation to a CS-free regimen with Tac and MMF starting at 3 g/d and dose adjusted from day 5 according to mycophenolic acid (MPA) exposure (arm A) or a regimen with CS maintained up to 6 months, Tac and fixed-dose MMF (2 g/d) (arm B). The primary end point was the proportion of patients who experienced treated biopsy-proven acute rejection (BPAR) during the first year posttransplant.

Results

One hundred eighty-seven patients were randomized, and 174 comprised the per-protocol population (87 in each arm). The primary objective of noninferiority was met: 7 patients in arm A (8%) and 8 in arm B (9%) experienced treated BPAR in the first year. Two patients in arm A (2%) and 5 in arm B (6%) lost their graft, and 12-month patient survival was similar in both arms (90.8% vs 89.8%; P = 0.86). Adverse events were comparable between arms, except for a lower incidence of de novo diabetes (19.8% vs 32.6%, P = 0.049) and a higher incidence of leukopenia less than 2000/mm3 (28.6% vs 9.8%; P = 0.001) and neutropenia (26.7% vs 7.9%; P < 0.001) in arm A.

Conclusions

Mycophenolate mofetil at intensified and individually adjusted dose in combination with Tac in de novo liver transplant recipients allows CS discontinuation from day 1 posttransplant with good tolerance and very low rejection incidence.

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