Mycophenolate mofetil and tacrolimus as primary maintenance immunosuppression in simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplantation: initial experience in 50 consecutive cases

D B Kaufman, J R Leventhal, J Stuart, M M Abecassis, J P Fryer, F P Stuart
Transplantation 1999 February 27, 67 (4): 586-93

BACKGROUND: The current study examines the use of mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) and tacrolimus as primary immunosuppression in simultaneous pancreas-kidney (SPK) transplantation. In addition, analyses of the rates of conversion from one immunosuppressive agent to another, and its subsequent consequences with respect to outcomes were determined. Quality of graft function, infections, and effect on preexisting essential hypertension are also described.

METHODS: Immunosuppression consisted of quadruple therapy with antithymocyte globulin induction, tacrolimus, MMF, and prednisone. Patient and graft survival and rejection rates in 50 consecutive SPK recipients, followed for a minimum of 3 months and a mean of 14 months (range: 3-34 months), are described.

RESULTS: Thirty-nine of 50 (78%) patients tolerated the MMF/tacrolimus combination long-term (mean duration of follow-up: 14+/-7 months). Nine of 50 patients (18%) were converted to Neoral, and 4 patients were converted to azathioprine as a substitute for MMF. The 2-year actuarial patient, kidney, and pancreas survival rates were 97.7%, 93.3%, and 90.0%, respectively. At 6 months after transplant, the overall incidence of acute rejection was 16%. There was a statistically significant (P< or =0.04, Cox-Mantel test) difference in the rate of rejection associated with conversion to Neoral. The incidence of rejection 6 months after transplant in the group maintained on MMF/tacrolimus was 10.2% vs. 44.4% in the group converted to Neoral (P< or =0.04, Cox-Mantel test). Overall, the 1-year actuarial cumulative incidence of tissue-invasive cytomegalovirus disease was 6.6%. There were no cases of fungal infections or post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorders. One patient developed Kaposi's sarcoma 10 months after transplant. With respect to hypertensive disease, 60% (12/20) of the patients who required pharmacologic control of blood pressure before transplant were off all antihypertensive medications at 1 year after transplant. An additional 20% (4/20) of patients had a reduction in the number of medications required to control blood pressure at 1 year after transplant.

CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that the combination of MMF and tacrolimus as primary immunosuppression for SPK transplantation results in excellent patient and graft survival rates, a very low rate of acute rejection, and low rates of infection and malignancy.

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