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Keywords:

  • Basiliximab;
  • efficacy;
  • kidney transplant;
  • tacrolimus

In a 6-month, multicenter, randomized, controlled, open-label, parallel-group trial, we investigated the efficacy and safety of adding basiliximab to a standard tacrolimus-based regimen in pediatric renal transplant recipients. Patients <18 years received tacrolimus/azathioprine/steroids (TAS, n = 93) or tacrolimus/azathioprine/steroids/basiliximab (TAS + B, n = 99). Target tacrolimus levels were 10–20 ng/mL between days 0–21 and 5–15 ng/mL thereafter. Steroid dosing was identical in both groups. Basiliximab was administered at 10 mg (patients <40 kg) or 20 mg (patients ≥40 kg) within 4 h of reperfusion; the same dose was repeated on day 4. Biopsy-proven acute rejection rates were 20.4% (TAS) and 19.2% (TAS + B); steroid-resistant acute rejection rates were 3.2% and 3.0%, respectively. Patient survival was 100%; graft survival rates were 95% in both arms. The nature and incidence of adverse events were similar in both arms except toxic nephropathy and abdominal pain, which were significantly higher in the TAS + B arm (14.1% vs. 4.3%; p = 0.03 and 11.1% vs. 2.2%; p = 0.02; respectively). Median serum creatinine concentrations at 6 months were 86 μmol/L in the TAS and 91 μmol/L in the TAS + B arm; glomerular filtration rate was 79.4 and 77.6 (mL/min/1.73 m2), respectively. Adding basiliximab to a tacrolimus-based regimen is safe in pediatric patients, but does not improve clinical efficacy.