Immunosuppression with calcineurin inhibitors with respect to the outcome of HCV recurrence after liver transplantation: Results of a meta-analysis



A controversy exists over whether the outcome of a hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infection-related liver transplant differs based on the calcineurin inhibitor (CNI) used. We have performed a systematic review and a subsequent meta-analysis evaluating tacrolimus (Tac)-based vs. cyclosporine A-based immunosuppression in HCV-infected liver transplant recipients. Searches were conducted to locate randomized controlled trials comparing Tac vs. cyclosporine A. Data on HCV liver transplant recipients were obtained, independently of whether the study was specifically designed for patients with this disease or not. A fixed effects model was used for statistical pooling of the relative risks (RR) for the different outcomes. A total of 5 articles (366 patients) fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Statistically significant differences between Tac-based vs. cyclosporine A-based therapies were not found for mortality (P = 0.11; RR = 0.72; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.49-1.08), graft survival (P = 0.37; RR = 0.86; 95% CI, 0.61-1.21), biopsy-proven acute rejection (P = 0.65; RR = 0.91; 95% CI, 0.61-1.36), corticoresistant acute rejection (P = 0.26; RR = 2.25; 95% CI, 0.55-9.29), and fibrosing cholestatic hepatitis (P = 0.92; RR = 0.96; 95% CI, 0.41-2.26). In 1 study, no differences were detected regarding severe fibrosis at 1 yr. In conclusion, patient and graft survivals in HCV-positive liver transplant patients are similar independently of the CNI selected as basic immunosuppressant. Unfortunately, data on the severity of recurrence and effect on viremia are scarce. Well-designed randomized prospective studies are needed to determine whether there are differences between the 2 CNIs regarding these specific variables. Liver Transpl 13:21–29, 2007. © 2006 AASLD.