Background: Tacrolimus (FK506) is a safe and effective treatment for the prevention of rejection of renal allografts. Mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) has been used as adjunct immunosuppressive therapy with cyclosporine and corticosteroids for the same purpose. The objective of this study was to investigate the safety and efficacy of FK506 and MMF in renal transplant recipients.
Methods: After cadaveric renal transplant, patients were randomized to receive tacrolimus in combination with either azathioprine (AZA, n=59), MMF 1 g/day (n=59), or MMF 2 g/day group (n=58). Patients were followed for 1 yr posttransplant for the incidence of biopsy-confirmed acute rejection, patient and graft survival, and adverse events.
Results: Tacrolimus doses and trough concentrations were similar between treatment groups at all time points; 80% of patients were maintained within a range of 5.0-13.9 ng/ml at 12 months posttransplant. The mean dose of MMF decreased in the 2 g/day group to 1.5 g/day by 6 months posttransplant, primarily due to gastrointestinal GI-related disorders. The incidence of biopsy-confirmed acute rejection at 1 year was 32.2%, 32.2%, and 8.6% in the AZA, MMF 1 g/day, and MMF 2 g/day groups, respectively (P<0.01). The use of antilymphocyte antibodies for the treatment of rejection was comparable across treatment groups. The incidence of most adverse events was similar across treatment groups and comparable with previous reports. The overall incidence of posttransplant diabetes mellitus was 11.9%, with the lowest rate observed in the MMF 2 g/day group (4.7%), and was reversible in 40% of patients. The incidence of malignancies and opportunistic infections was low and not different across treatment groups.
Conclusion: Tacrolimus in combination with an initial dose of MMF 2 g/day is a very effective and safe regimen in cadaveric kidney transplant recipients.