Background: This study compared the long-term effects of switching from cyclosporine to tacrolimus on the incidence, progression, and severity of chronic renal allograft failure in patients with elevated serum creatinine levels.
Methods: Patients were assigned randomly (2:1) to switch to tacrolimus or remain on cyclosporine. Tacrolimus was initiated at 1/50th of the cyclosporine dose or 0.15 mg/kg/day, whichever dose was lower, to maintain trough concentrations between 5 and 15 ng/mL. Cyclosporine doses were adjusted to achieve trough concentrations between 100 and 300 ng/mL.
Results: At 60 months, the median change from baseline in serum creatinine was -0.2 mg/dL in the tacrolimus group and 0.3 mg/dL in the cyclosporine group (P=0.003). Median change in estimated creatinine clearance was 1.2 mL/min in the tacrolimus group and -4.1 mL/min in the cyclosporine group (P=0.019). The incidence of new-onset diabetes, hyperglycemia, hypertension, lymphoma, and malignancies was generally low and comparable between groups. Fewer patients in the tacrolimus group than in the cyclosporine group developed new cardiac conditions (11% vs. 28%, P=0.004), had low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol values more than 130 mg/dL (29% vs. 57%, P=0.002), or developed hyperlipidemia (24% vs. 67%, P=0.046) during the 60-month follow-up period. Despite these changes, patient and graft survival were similar for both groups.
Conclusion: Switching from cyclosporine to tacrolimus resulted in improved renal function and a reduction in the occurrence of new-onset cardiac conditions and hyperlipidemia, with no increase in the incidence of new-onset diabetes or new-onset hyperglycemia. However, after 5 years there was no impact on patient or graft survival.