[Effectiveness and safety of conversion therapy with the combination of sirolimus with low dose cyclosporine in renal transplantation recipients: a five-year clinical observation].

Zhonghua yi xue za zhi

PubMedID: 27266681

Zhu L, Ding T, Wang XX, Lin ZB, Chen G. [Effectiveness and safety of conversion therapy with the combination of sirolimus with low dose cyclosporine in renal transplantation recipients: a five-year clinical observation]. Zhonghua Yi Xue Za Zhi. 2016;96(20):1556-61.
OBJECTIVE
To assess the effectiveness and safety of the conversion therapy from traditional cyclosporine (CsA) triple immunosuppression therapy to sirolimus (SRL) combined with low dose CsA and prednisone (Pred) in renal transplantation recipients in a five-year follow-up period.

METHODS
A prospective, open-label non-randomized study was performed with 46 renal allograft recipients who visited Tongji Hospital regularly for follow-up visits between January 2007 and May 2011 and were taking CsA+ mycophenolate mofetil (MMF)+ Pred. Conversion therapy to SRL+ low dose CsA+ Pred was initiated after renal transplantation. The recipients were allocated to 2 groups according to their renal function and proteinuria before the conversion: active conversion group [n=27, serum creatinine (SCr) = 140 µmol/L with no or minimal proteinuria] and passive conversion group [n=19, SCr>140 µmol/L with less than moderate proteinuria]. After conversion, dosages of SRL and CsA were adjusted for trough levels of 5-7 µg/L and 20-60 µg/L, respectively. SCr and urine protein were compared before and after the conversion in five-year follow-up. Incidence of acute rejection, renal graft survival and SRL-related adverse effects of the immunosuppressive regimen were also observed.

RESULTS
After conversion, an average 63% dose reduction of CsA was achieved in all the patients. In the active conversion group, the mean SCr level was (110±19) µmol/L at the time of conversion. Eight patients in this group withdrew from the study during the follow-up period for the following reasons: arthralgia (1 case), deteriorated proteinuria (2 cases), chronic diarrhea (2 cases), mild or suspicious acute rejection (2 cases), and recurrent fever (1 case). The rest patients (19/27) with a mean follow-up time of 5 years had a stable SCr level [(103±12) µmol/L] and a 100% 5-year graft survival. In the passive conversion group, the mean SCr level was (205±45) µmol/L at the time of conversion. There were 4 patients quitting the study, 2 for deteriorated proteinuria and 2 for lost to follow-up. Chronic allograft failure developed in 10 patients in this group 1-50 months after conversion, while the remaining 5 patients had a stable SCr during the 5-year follow-up period [(218 ±46) µmol/L before conversion vs (205±73) µmol/L 5 years after conversion]. The overall 5-year graft survival after the conversion therapy in the passive conversion group was 33.3%, significantly lower than that of the active conversion group (P<0.001). Acute rejection was observed in 2 cases in the active conversion group, while not observed in the passive conversion group. None of the patients developed leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, oral ulcer, or pneumonia in the follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS
The combination therapy of SRL and low dose of CsA is overall a safe and effective maintenance immunosuppressive regimen, but it is important to initiate at an appropriate stage. More favourable long-term benefits may be obtained from the conversion therapy in patients with normal or only slightly impaired renal graft function. It may offer an option of individualized immunosuppressive therapy after renal transplantation.