Surveillance of glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is crucial in the management of kidney transplant recipients. With special emphasis on serum creatinine (SCr) calibration assay, we assessed the performance of estimation equations as compared to iothalamate GFR (iGFR) in 209 patients using the modification of diet in renal disease (MDRD), Nankivell and Cockcroft-Gault methods. Fifty-five percent of patients were treated with a calcineurin inhibitor (CNI) and all were taken trimethroprim-sulfametoxazole at the time of SCr measurement. The mean iGFR was 44 +/- 26 mL/min/1.73 m2. The MDRD equation showed a median difference of 0.9 mL/min/1.73 m2 with 53% of estimated GFR within 20% of iGFR. Median differences were 7.5 and 7.0 mL/min/1.73 m2 for Nankivell and Cockcroft-Gault formulas, respectively. The accuracy of the Nankivell and Cockcroft-Gault formulas was such that only 38% and 37% of estimations, respectively, fell within 20% of iGFR. The performance of all equations was not uniform throughout the whole range of GFR, with some deterioration at the extremes of GFR levels. In addition, good performance of the MDRD equation was seen in subjects taking CNI. In conclusion, the overall performance of the MDRD equation was superior to the Nankivell and Cockcroft-Gault formulas in renal transplant recipients including subjects treated with CNI.