Background Our aim was to determine the impact of converting from tacrolimus to belatacept in patients with stable low estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) early after kidney transplant. Methods This is a single-center retrospective case control study. During this study period, we had a clinical protocol to convert patients to belatacept if they had a stable but low GFR and they were at least 1-month posttransplant. Eligible patients had stable but low eGFR usually < 40 mL/min per 1.73 m2. We used direct matching to select 1 control case for each patient converted to belatacept. The primary outcome was the change in eGFR from the point of belatacept conversion to 4 months postconversion (delta eGFR). Results There were 30 patients in the conversion group and 30 in a direct matched control group. The median preconversion eGFR for the entire cohort was 23.0 mL/min per 1.73 m2 with an interquartile range of 15.7 to 31.4. The delta eGFR was 11.0 (12.9) mL/min per 1.73 m2 in belatacept group and 4.8 (10.5) mL/min per 1.73 m2 in the control group (P = 0.045). Acute rejection postconversion occurred in 5 (16.7%) in the conversion group and none of the control group (P = 0.052). Although the delta improvement in eGFR was about 6 mL/min better in the Belatacept group, there was no difference in the slope of inverse creatinine during the 12-month period after conversion between the groups. Conclusions We conclude that early belatacept conversion in kidney transplant recipients with stable low eGFR may only result in a modest increase in GFR.
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