Improvement of renal function after the switch from a calcineurin inhibitor to everolimus in liver transplant recipients with chronic renal dysfunction

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Abstract

Chronic renal dysfunction is a frequent and severe complication in solid-organ transplant recipients. Calcineurin inhibitors (CNIs) are the main pathogenic factors of renal dysfunction. Switching from CNIs to nonnephrotoxic drugs, such as mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitors (everolimus and sirolimus), can improve renal function in these patients, but available data about the efficacy and safety of everolimus in liver transplant recipients are scarce. Twenty-one liver transplant recipients (19 males, mean age = 60.6 ± 7.8 years) with chronic renal dysfunction (creatinine ≥ 1.5 mg/dL) were prospectively included. The basal creatinine values were 1.79 ± 0.39 mg/dL (range = 1.50–2.90 mg/dL). The basal creatinine clearance, evaluated with the Cockroft-Gault formula, was 54.64 ± 12.47 mL/minute. Everolimus was initiated at a dosage of 0.75 mg twice daily, with target levels of 3 to 8 ng/mL. The withdrawal of CNIs was initiated after the target levels of everolimus were reached. Periodic controls of the weight, arterial pressure, liver function tests, serum creatinine, everolimus levels, proteinuria, creatinine clearance, and glomerular filtration rate at days 30, 90, 180, and 360 were made. After a median follow-up of 19.8 months, the respective creatinine values at 30, 90, 180, and 360 days were 1.68 ± 0.40 (P = 0.012 with respect to basal values), 1.67 ± 0.34 (P = 0.107), 1.70 ± 0.41 (P = 0.521), and 1.57 ± 0.30 mg/dL (P = 0.047). The respective creatinine clearance values at 30, 90, 180, and 360 days were 58.64 ± 16.50 (P = 0.013 with respect to basal values), 59.49 ± 13.27 (P = 0.028), 59.82 ± 16.83 (P = 0.124), and 64.46 ± 16.79 mL/minute (P = 0.025). CNIs were withdrawn in 20 recipients (95.2%). Rejection was not detected in any case. In conclusion, the application in liver transplant recipients with chronic renal dysfunction of an immunosuppressive protocol with everolimus and the withdrawal of CNIs was associated with an initial improvement of renal function tests without an increase in the risk of rejection. Liver Transpl 15:1792–1797, 2009. © 2009 AASLD.

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