Conversion from calcineurin inhibitors to sirolimus maintenance therapy in renal allograft recipients: 24-month efficacy and safety results from the CONVERT trial

Francesco P Schena, Michael D Pascoe, Josefina Alberu, Maria del Carmen Rial, Rainer Oberbauer, Daniel C Brennan, Josep M Campistol, Lorraine Racusen, Martin S Polinsky, Robert Goldberg-Alberts, Huihua Li, Joseph Scarola, John F Neylan
Transplantation 2009 January 27, 87 (2): 233-42

BACKGROUND: The efficacy and safety of converting maintenance renal transplant recipients from calcineurin inhibitors (CNIs) to sirolimus (SRL) was evaluated.

METHODS: Eight hundred thirty renal allograft recipients, 6 to 120 months posttransplant and receiving cyclosporine or tacrolimus, were randomly assigned to continue CNI (n=275) or convert from CNI to SRL (n=555). Primary endpoints were calculated Nankivell glomerular filtration rate (GFR; stratified at baseline: 20-40 vs. >40 mL/min) and the cumulative rates of biopsy-confirmed acute rejection (BCAR), graft loss, or death at 12 months. Enrollment in the 20 to 40 mL/min stratum was halted prematurely because of a higher incidence of safety endpoints in the SRL conversion arm.

RESULTS: Intent-to-treat analyses at 12 and 24 months showed no significant treatment difference in GFR in the baseline GFR more than 40 mL/min stratum. On-therapy analysis of this cohort showed significantly higher GFR at 12 and 24 months after SRL conversion. Rates of BCAR, graft survival, and patient survival were similar between groups. Median urinary protein-to-creatinine ratios (UPr/Cr) were similar at baseline but increased significantly after SRL conversion. Malignancy rates were significantly lower at 12 and 24 months after SRL conversion. Post hoc analyses identified a subgroup with baseline GFR more than 40 mL/min and UPr/Cr less than or equal to 0.11, whose risk-benefit profile was more favorable after conversion than that for the overall SRL conversion cohort.

CONCLUSIONS: At 2 years, SRL conversion among patients with baseline GFR more than 40 mL/min was associated with excellent patient and graft survival, no difference in BCAR, increased urinary protein excretion, and a lower incidence of malignancy compared with CNI continuation. Superior renal function was observed among patients who remained on SRL through 12 to 24 months, particularly in the subgroup of patients with baseline GFR more than 40 mL/min and UPr/Cr less than or equal to 0.11.

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