To evaluate the safety and efficacy of sirolimus in treating patients with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), we performed a phase 2, open-label clinical trial. Inclusion criteria were adults and children 13 years and older with biopsy-proven idiopathic FSGS, proteinuria with protein of 3.5 g/d or greater while on angiotensin antagonist therapy, glomerular filtration rate (GFR) of 30 mL/min/1.73 m(2) or greater (>or=0.50 mL/s), and failure to achieve sustained remission with at least 1 immunosuppressive agent. Eligible patients received sirolimus doses adjusted to achieve trough levels of 5 to 15 ng/mL during the first 4 months and 10 to 20 ng/mL for the subsequent 8 months. The primary outcome was decrease in proteinuria, expressed as complete remission (protein < 0.3 g/d) or partial remission (protein >or= 50% decrease and <3.5 g/d). Six adult patients with FSGS were enrolled in the study; they had median disease duration of 4.0 years, mean age of 39 +/- 11 years, mean baseline Modification of Diet in Renal Disease-estimated GFR of 52 +/- 15 mL/min/1.73 m(2) (0.87 +/- 0.25 mL/s), and median baseline proteinuria with protein of 6.6 g/d (interquartile range, 4.2 to 9.4). Five patients had received cyclosporine. No patient experienced a complete or partial remission. Sirolimus therapy was stopped prematurely in 5 patients for the following reasons: (1) precipitous decrease in GFR in 4 patients after 7 to 9 months of therapy with a greater than 2-fold increase in proteinuria in 3 patients and (2) hypertriglyceridemia with triglyceride levels greater than 1,600 mg/dL (>18 mmol/L) at 5 months in 1 patient. Because of a rapid decrease in GFR with worsening proteinuria, the protocol was closed to further recruitment. We conclude that sirolimus may be associated with nephrotoxicity in some patients with FSGS, particularly those with prolonged disease duration and prior cyclosporine therapy.