Sirolimus monotherapy in nephrotoxicity due to calcineurin inhibitors in liver transplant recipients

Liver Transpl. 2003 Feb;9(2):126-9. doi: 10.1053/jlts.2003.50026.


Sirolimus, being nonnephrotoxic, is a viable alternative in patients who develop renal insufficiency caused by calcineurin inhibitors (CIs). The aim of this study is to determine whether there is improvement in renal function in liver transplant recipients after switching to sirolimus-based immunosuppression. In this retrospective review, patients who were more than 3 years posttransplantation were selected. Patients who had proteinuria (protein > 300 mg/24 hr), those administered any other nephrotoxic agents, and those with a creatinine clearance (CCr) less than 20 mL/min were excluded. Renal insufficiency was defined as mild (CCr > 70 mL/min), moderate (CCr, 40 to 70 mL/min), or severe (CCr, 20 to 40 mL/min). In the 16 patients studied; there was significant improvement in serum blood urea nitrogen (36 mg/dL; range, 19 to 53 mg/dL; to 25 mg/dL; range, 10 to 37 mg/dL; P =.002) and serum creatinine levels (median, 1.95 mg/dL; range, 1.3 to 2.8 mg/dL; to 1.5 mg/dL; range, 1.0 to 2.4 mg/dL; P =.001) 6 months after switching to sirolimus therapy. There also was a trend in improvement in CCr from 43 mL min (range, 24 to 68 mL/min) to 49 mL/min (range, 22 to 152 mL/min). Among 9 patients with moderate renal insufficiency, 2 patients improved to mild renal insufficiency, 4 patients remained unchanged, and 3 patients deteriorated to severe renal insufficiency. Among 7 patients with severe renal insufficiency, 1 patient improved to mild renal insufficiency, 4 patients improved to moderate renal insufficiency, and 2 patients remained unchanged. No patient developed cellular rejection or other graft-related complications. In liver transplant recipients with chronic renal insufficiency, conversion to sirolimus-based immunosuppression allows complete withdrawal of CIs, leading to some improvement in renal function.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Calcineurin Inhibitors*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Kidney / physiopathology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / chemically induced*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / drug therapy*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / physiopathology
  • Liver Failure / surgery*
  • Liver Transplantation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sirolimus / therapeutic use*


  • Calcineurin Inhibitors
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Sirolimus