One-year results of basiliximab induction and tacrolimus associated with sequential steroid and MMF treatment in pediatric kidney transplant recipient


Giovanni Montini MD, Pediatric Department, Nephrology, Dialysis and Transplant Unit, University Hospital, Via Giustiniani, 3, 35128 Padova, Italy. Tel.: ++39/049/8213505; fax: ++39/049/8211401; e-mail:


We report the 1-year results with a triple immunosuppressive regimen in pediatric recipients of a first kidney transplant, in order to evaluate its safety and efficacy in the prevention of acute rejection and in the reduction of steroid side effects. The immunosuppression is as follows: (i) basiliximab (20 mg if body weight >30 kg; 10 mg if <30 kg) is given pretransplant and at day 4; (ii) tacrolimus (Tac) is administered in order to obtain blood trough levels of 10–20 and 5–10 ng/ml during and after the first 2 months post-transplant, respectively; (iii) steroids are tapered during the first 6 months and then replaced by mycophenolate mofetil (depending on previous rejection episodes, infection status and the result of a routine biopsy) at a dosage of 4–600 mg/m2 body surface area. Fifty-three children (median age 13 years, range 2–20) have entered this protocol. One-year patient and kidney survival are 100% and 94% respectively. During the first year a total of nine rejections in seven patients (13% of the cohort study) occurred, all but one responsive to steroids. Renal function was satisfactory throughout the first year (mean CrCl was 63.8 ± 18 and 60.9 ± 15.5 ml/min/1.73 m2 at 6 and 12 months respectively). Subclinical signs of rejection were absent in more than 80% of biopsies (grade I Banff) at 6 months (n = 47); at the 12th month biopsy (n = 42) score I was stable in 20 patients (16 after stopping steroids) and had worsened in eight biopsies (six after stopping steroids). Major complications were insulin-dependent diabetes in three (5.6%) children with the need of insulin for a mean of 3 months; transient hyperglycemia (11 patients), treated with a dietary regimen, symptomatic viral infections (in 11 patients: two parvovirus B19, three cytomegalovirus and two Epstein–Barr virus systemic infections, three interstitial pneumonia, two BK nephritis). Tac doses more than 0.3–0.4 mg/kg/day are at significantly higher risk of viral infection. In conclusion, this immunosuppressive regimen is associated with a low percentage of clinical (13%) and subclinical rejections, but with a relatively high number of infections, prevented by a reduction in Tac doses (<0.3 mg/kg/day) during the first 2 months after transplantation. The assessment of steroid withdrawal needs a longer follow-up.