BACKGROUND.: Calcineurin-inhibitor therapy is a contributing factor to the origin of interstitial fibrosis and tubular atrophy (IFTA). METHODS.: We conducted a prospective randomized trial of conversion of tacrolimus to sirolimus at 1-month posttransplant in kidney transplant recipients on rapid steroid withdrawal. We compared the chronic changes (IFTA and sum of Banff chronic scores-Total Score) on protocol biopsies at 1 month, 1 year, and 2 years in all randomized patients. We compared the outcomes between treatment groups and analyzed the impact of previous rejection on the chronic changes. RESULTS.: We randomized 122 patients, 62 to sirolimus and 60 to tacrolimus. The 1-year biopsy was performed in 54 patients (90%) of the tacrolimus group and 56 patients (90%) of the sirolimus group. The proportion of biopsies with IFTA more than or equal to 2 and the Total Score more than 2 increased over the 2 years but were not different between the study groups at any time point. On the 1-year biopsy, there was more IFTA, and the fraction with Total Score more than 2 was higher in the tacrolimus group with previous rejection. In the cohort without rejection, there was a significant progression of the IFTA and Total Score between 1 and 2 years in both the sirolimus and tacrolimus groups. CONCLUSION.: Conversion from tacrolimus to sirolimus at 1-month posttransplant in kidney transplant recipients on rapid steroid withdrawal does not decrease the progression of chronic changes on protocol biopsies during the first 2 years even in those patients without previous acute rejection.
- Interstitial fibrosis and tubular atrophy
- Kidney transplantation
- Protocol biopsy
- Steroid avoidance
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