BACKGROUND: The challenge in renal transplantation is to improve long-term patient and graft survival without increasing early acute rejection by minimizing immunosuppression. METHODS: This multicenter, observational study investigated the effects of withdrawal of steroids or mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) from a tacrolimus-based triple regimen (tac/MMF/steroids) 3 months posttransplant at 3 years; no additional interventions or assessments were undertaken. Adult patients, included in the intent-to-treat population of the THOMAS study, participated. Patient and graft survival, adverse events, rejection episodes, and immunosuppressive and concomitant medications were assessed. RESULTS: Data at Year 3 was available for 718 patients (triple therapy, n=237; steroid stop, n=235; MMF stop, n=246). The original randomized regimen was maintained in 45.6% of patients in the triple, 62.6% in the steroid stop, and 53.9% in the MMF stop groups. Graft survival rates were 88.1% (triple), 86.4% (steroid stop), and 85.8% (MMF stop); patient survival was 96.1%, 95.9%, and 95.7%, respectively. The incidence of biopsy-proven acute rejection was similar in all groups between Month 7 and Year 3: 1.2% (triple), 2.0% (steroid stop) and 2.0% (MMF stop). Patients in the steroid stop group had less hypertension and significantly lower mean total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol at Year 3 compared with Month 3 (P=0.02). Median serum creatinine levels remained stable throughout the follow-up and were comparable between groups. CONCLUSION: Immunosuppression minimization initiated at Month 3 was maintained at Year 3 in over half of the patients. Steroid withdrawal was advantageous in reducing the cardiovascular risk factors hyperlipidemia, hypertension and diabetes mellitus. Renal function was stable in all groups.
Pascual, J., van Hooff, J. P., Salmela, K., Lang, P., Rigotti, P., & Budde, K. (2006). Three-year observational follow-up of a multicenter, randomized trial on tacrolimus-based therapy with withdrawal of steroids or mycophenolate mofetil after renal transplant. Transplantation, 82(1), 55-61. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.tp.0000225806.80890.5e