Fixed- or Controlled-Dose Mycophenolate Mofetil with Standard- or Reduced-Dose Calcineurin Inhibitors: The Opticept Trial


  • This study was sponsored by Roche.

  • R. S. Gaston is a consultant to Astellas, Bristol Myers Squibb and Novartis and has received grant support from Bristol Myers Squibb, Isotechnika, LifeCycle Biopharma, Pfizer and Roche. D. Cibrik is a consultant to Pfizer and Novartis. B. Kaplan, T. Shah, L. M. Shaw, M. Angelis, S. Mulgaonkar, H.-U. Meier-Kriesche and R. D. Bloom have received grant support from Roche. D. Patel is an employee of Roche.

* Corresponding author: Robert S. Gaston,


Mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) was developed with cyclosporine as a fixed-dose immunosuppressant. More recent data indicate a relationship between mycophenolic acid (MPA) exposure in individuals and clinical endpoints of rejection and toxicity. This 2-year, open-label, randomized, multicenter trial compared the efficacy and safety of concentration-controlled MMF (MMFCC) dosing with a fixed-dose regimen in 720 kidney recipients. Patients received either (A) MMFCC and reduced-level calcineurin inhibitor (MMFCC/CNIRL); (B) MMFCC and standard-level CNI (MMFCC/CNISL); or (C) fixed-dose MMF and CNISL (MMFFD/CNISL). Antibody induction and steroid use were according to center practice. The primary endpoint was noninferiority (α= 0.05) of group A versus group C for treatment failure (including biopsy-proven acute rejection [BPAR], graft loss and death) at 1 year. Although mean CNI trough levels in group A did not reach the prespecified targets, they were statistically lower than those in groups B and C (p ≤ 0.01 for each comparison). BPAR rates (8.5%) were low across groups. Group A had 19% fewer treatment failures (23% vs. 28%, p = 0.18). MMF doses were highest (p < 0.05), with withdrawals for adverse events the fewest (p = 0.02), in group A. Of the 80% of subjects taking tacrolimus (Tac), those with higher MPA exposure had significantly less rejection (p < 0.001) and diarrhea correlated with Tac, but not with MPA levels. Thus, MMFCC with low-dose CNI resulted in outcomes not inferior to those with standard CNI exposure and MMFFD, indicating potential utility of MMFCC in CNI-sparing regimens.