Randomized, multicenter trial comparing tacrolimus plus mycophenolate mofetil to tacrolimus plus steroids in hepatitis C virus–positive recipients of living donor liver transplantation


  • This study was partly supported by a Health and Labor Sciences Research Grant from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare.

  • The ClinicalTrials.gov registration number is NCT00469131.

  • The authors of this article have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Address reprint requests to Yasutsugu Takada, M.D., Department of Hepatopancreatobiliary and Transplant Surgery, Ehime University, Shitsukawa, Toon, Ehime 791-0295, Japan. Telephone: +81-89-960-5327; FAX: +81-89-960-5329; E-mail: takaday@m.ehime-u.ac.jp


The purpose of this prospective, randomized, multicenter trial was to evaluate the effects of a steroid-avoiding immunosuppression protocol on hepatitis C virus (HCV)–positive recipients of living donor liver transplantation (LDLT). Seventy-five HCV-positive LDLT recipients were included in this study, and they were randomized to receive tacrolimus (TAC) plus a corticosteroid (ST; n = 35) or TAC plus mycophenolate mofetil (MMF; n = 40). Biopsy-proven acute rejection (BPAR) was treated with steroid pulse therapy in both groups. Protocol biopsy was performed 3, 6, and 12 months after LDLT and annually thereafter. Histological recurrence of HCV (fibrosis stage ≥ F1 according to the METAVIR score), BPAR resistant to 2 sets of steroid pulse therapy, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) recurrence, retransplantation, and patient death were defined as events, and the primary endpoint was event-free survival. The median follow-up was 55 months. The event-free survival rates at 1, 3, and 5 years were 38.2%, 11.8%, and 5.9%, respectively, for the ST group and 25.0%, 17.5%, and 14.6%, respectively, for the MMF group (P = 0.45). The overall 5-year patient survival rates were similar for the ST group (82.7%) and the MMF group (81.0%, P = 0.28). Steroid-resistant BPAR occurred in only 1 patient from the MMF group. HCC recurrence occurred for 1 patient from the ST group and 2 patients from the MMF group. HCV recurrence rates with a fibrosis stage ≥ F1 1 and 3 years after LDLT were 59.4% and 85.9%, respectively, for the ST group and 74.2% and 81.9%, respectively, for the MMF group (P = 0.57). In conclusion, our steroid-avoidance regimen had no apparent impact on LDLT outcomes for HCV-positive recipients. Liver Transpl 19:896-906, 2013. © 2013 AASLD.