Early steroid withdrawal in renal transplantation with tacrolimus dual therapy: a pilot study

J.M.M. Boots*, M.H. Christiaans, E.M. van Duijnhoven, R.J. van Suylen, J.P. van Hooff

*Corresponding author for this work

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Early steroid withdrawal in renal transplantation with tacrolimus dual therapy: a pilot study.

Boots JM, Christiaans MH, Van Duijnhoven EM, Van Suylen RJ, Van Hooff JP.

Department of Nephrology, University Hospital Maastricht, PO Box 5800, 6202 AZ Maastricht, The Netherlands. jboo@groupwise.azm.nl.

BACKGROUND: With tacrolimus-based immunosuppression, it appears safe to withdraw steroids 3 to 6 months after renal transplantation. We hypothesized whether steroids could also be safely withdrawn early after transplantation. METHODS: Sixty-two patients (first or second transplant, with no previous immunological failure, and current panel reactive human leucocyte antigen [HLA] antibodies [PRA]<50%), treated with tacrolimus, were prospectively randomized to stop steroids (10 mg prednisolone) after day 7 posttransplantation (stop group [STOP], n=28) or to gradually wean off steroids in 3 to 6 months (tapering group [TAP], n=34). Analyses were performed on an intention-to-treat basis. RESULTS: After a median follow-up of 2.7 years, patient and graft survival were 97 and 90% and comparable between both groups (P =0.11 and P=0.13, respectively). The incidence of acute rejection was 29 (STOP) versus 33% (TAP) ( P=0.30). The time to the first rejection was a median of 35 days (STOP) versus 11 days (TAP) ( =0.19). The severity of the rejections (1997 Banff classification) was comparable (P =0.57). Creatinine clearance and proteinuria were similar (P >0.70). The incidence of infections was comparable ( P>0.10). The incidence of new-onset diabetes mellitus, defined as the use of antidiabetic medication, was 8.0 (STOP) versus 30.3% (TAP) (P =0.04). All cases occurred in the STOP group after 1 year, while all cases occurred in TAP in the first 4 months ( P<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Compared with tapering in 3 to 6 months, stopping steroids 1 week posttransplantation results in comparable patient and graft survival and in a similar incidence of acute rejections. The incidence of new-onset diabetes may be reduced. The immunosuppressive benefit of adding 10 mg prednisolone to tacrolimus seems to be limited.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1703-1709
Number of pages7
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002

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