Although the calcineurin inhibitors (CNI) cyclosporine (CsA) and tacrolimus are highly effective immunosuppressants, they are associated with serious side effects. There is great interest in immunosuppressive regimens that permit reduction or elimination of CNIs, while maintaining adequate immunosuppression and acceptable acute rejection rates. Patients (n = 536) receiving their first renal allograft were randomized to one of three immunosuppressant regimens: daclizumab, mycophenolate mofetil (MMF), corticosteroids (CS) and low-dose CsA (target trough levels of 50-100 ng/mL), weaned from month 4 and withdrawn by month 6; daclizumab, MMF, CS and low-dose CsA; or MMF, CS and standard-dose CsA. Mean GFR 12 months after transplantation (primary end point) was not statistically different in the CsA withdrawal and low-dose CsA groups (both 50.9 mL/min/1.73 m(2)) vs. the standard-dose CsA group (48.6 mL/min/1.73 m(2)). At 12 months, the incidence of biopsy-proven acute rejection was significantly higher in the CsA withdrawal group (38%) vs. the low- or standard-dose CsA groups (25.4% and 27.5%, respectively; p < 0.05). In summary, a regimen of continuous low-dose CsA with MMF, CS and daclizumab induction is a clinically safe and effective immunosuppressive regimen in renal transplant recipients.