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Keywords:

  • Graft function;
  • graft survival;
  • kidney transplantation;
  • prednisone-free;
  • sirolimus;
  • tacrolimus

It is not known how different steroid-free immunosuppressive combinations affect renal graft survival and long-term kidney transplant function. Here we sought to compare the impact on graft survival and long-term graft function of two tacrolimus (Tac)-based, prednisone-free maintenance immunosuppressive protocols: Tac/Mycophenolate Mofetil (MMF) vs. Tac/Sirolimus (SRL). Renal transplant patients given induction therapy with IL2-RA and methylprednisolone on days 0, 1 and 2 post-transplant were prospectively randomized to two maintenance immunosuppressive regimens with Tac/MMF (n = 45) or Tac/SRL (n = 37). During the 3-year follow-up the following data were collected: patient survival, renal allograft survival, incidence of acute rejection and glomerular filtration rate (GFR) at different time-points post-transplant. Cumulative graft survival was significantly different in the two groups: one kidney loss in the Tac/MMF vs. six kidney losses in the Tac/SRL (log-rank test p = 0.04). GFR at different time-points post-transplant was consistently and statistically better in the Tac/MMF than in the Tac/SRL group. The slope of GFR decline per month was flatter in the Tac/MMF than in the Tac/SRL group. This study showed that renal graft survival and graft function were significantly lower in the combination of Tac/SRL than Tac/MMF.