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Keywords:

  • Chronic renal dysfunction;
  • liver transplantation;
  • mycophenolate mofetyl

Withdrawal of calcineurin inhibitors (CNI) followed by mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) monotherapy after liver transplantation (LT) remains controversial due to the increased risk of acute rejection and graft loss. The aim of the present study, performed in a large cohort of liver-transplanted patients with severe CNI-induced side effects, was to assess renal function recovery, and safety in terms of liver function, of complete CNI withdrawal and replacement by MMF monotherapy. Fifty-two patients treated with MMF monotherapy for CNI-induced toxicity were analyzed. Mean estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) increased significantly during the period of MMF monotherapy, from 37 ± 10 to 44.7 ± 15 mL/min/1.73 m2 at 6 months (p = 0.001) corresponding to a benefit of +17.4% in renal function. eGFR stabilized or improved in 86.5%, 81% and 79% of cases, and chronic renal dysfunction worsened in 13.5%, 19% and 21% of cases, at 6, 12 and 24 months after CNI withdrawal, respectively. Only two patients experienced acute rejection. MMF monotherapy may be efficient at reversing/stabilizing CRD, and appears relatively safe in terms of liver graft function in long-term liver-transplanted patients. However, clinicians must bear in mind the potential risk of rejection and graft loss, and should be very cautious in the management of such ‘difficult-to-treat patients’.