Sirolimus in combination with cyclosporine reduces the incidence of acute rejection in renal transplant recipients when administered in double- or triple-therapy immunosuppressive regimens. Sirolimus administered as primary therapy has a beneficial effect on renal function, and the frequency of rejection episodes is similar to that of primary immunosuppression with cyclosporine. A strategy that may result in a more benign immunologic course with a substantially beneficial effect on renal function is to administer sirolimus and a calcineurin inhibitor early after transplantation, thereby promoting immunologic adaptation, and then to withdraw the calcineurin inhibitor at some point after transplantation to prevent nephrotoxicity. This article examines the results of this approach in recent studies that evaluated the effect of cyclosporine withdrawal on renal function, acute rejection, and safety in patients treated with sirolimus. Two open-label randomized trials of cyclosporine withdrawal were conducted in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia. In one of the studies, graft survival, patient survival, and the incidence of acute rejection at 6 months posttransplantation were not statistically significantly different between the patients receiving cyclosporine and the group that had undergone cyclosporine withdrawal. Furthermore, significantly better renal function was observed in the patients who underwent cyclosporine withdrawal compared with patients who continued to receive full-dose cyclosporine. These studies indicate that cyclosporine withdrawal has a beneficial effect on renal function without a significant increase in the incidence of acute rejection episodes.
- Acute rejection
- Renal function
- Target of rapamycin (TOR) inhibitors
ASJC Scopus subject areas