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Keywords:

  • Calcineurin inhibitor;
  • Immunosuppression;
  • kidney transplantation;
  • nonmelanoma skin cancer;
  • sirolimus

Sirolimus has antineoplastic effects and may reduce skin cancer rates in kidney transplant patients. This prospective, multicenter, randomized, open-label, controlled trial randomized 86 kidney transplant recipients (≥1 year posttransplant) with history of nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) to continue calcineurin inhibitor (CNI) or convert to sirolimus. Patients were stratified by number of NMSC lesions (0–5, 6–20) in previous year. Primary end point was number of biopsy-confirmed new NMSC lesions per patient-year. Yearly NMSC rate was significantly lower with sirolimus (1.31 vs. 2.48 lesions/patient-year; p = 0.022). Squamous cell carcinoma occurred at a lower rate in the sirolimus versus CNI group (p = 0.038); basal cell carcinoma rate was similar in both. A lower proportion of patients receiving sirolimus developed new or recurrent NMSC (56.4% vs. 80.9%; p = 0.015) or new squamous cell carcinoma (41.0% vs. 70.2%; p = 0.006). No sirolimus patients and one CNI continuation patient experienced acute rejection. Incidence of treatment-emergent adverse events was similar between groups; however, discontinuation rates related to adverse events were significantly higher with sirolimus (46.2% vs. 0%; p < 0.001). In kidney transplant recipients with history of NMSC, conversion from CNI to sirolimus reduced rates of NMSC, without increasing acute rejection risk.