Sirolimus and kidney growth in autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease

N Engl J Med. 2010 Aug 26;363(9):820-9. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa0907419. Epub 2010 Jun 26.


Background: In autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD), aberrant activation of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway is associated with progressive kidney enlargement. The drug sirolimus suppresses mTOR signaling.

Methods: In this 18-month, open-label, randomized, controlled trial, we sought to determine whether sirolimus halts the growth in kidney volume among patients with ADPKD. We randomly assigned 100 patients between the ages of 18 and 40 years to receive either sirolimus (target dose, 2 mg daily) or standard care. All patients had an estimated creatinine clearance of at least 70 ml per minute. Serial magnetic resonance imaging was performed to measure the volume of polycystic kidneys. The primary outcome was total kidney volume at 18 months on blinded assessment. Secondary outcomes were the glomerular filtration rate and urinary albumin excretion rate at 18 months.

Results: At randomization, the median total kidney volume was 907 cm3 (interquartile range, 577 to 1330) in the sirolimus group and 1003 cm3 (interquartile range, 574 to 1422) in the control group. The median increase over the 18-month period was 99 cm3 (interquartile range, 43 to 173) in the sirolimus group and 97 cm3 (interquartile range, 37 to 181) in the control group. At 18 months, the median total kidney volume in the sirolimus group was 102% of that in the control group (95% confidence interval, 99 to 105; P=0.26). The glomerular filtration rate did not differ significantly between the two groups; however, the urinary albumin excretion rate was higher in the sirolimus group.

Conclusions: In adults with ADPKD and early chronic kidney disease, 18 months of treatment with sirolimus did not halt polycystic kidney growth. (Funded by Wyeth and others; number, NCT00346918.)

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Albuminuria
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Creatinine / urine
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Kidney / drug effects*
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / prevention & control
  • Male
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Polycystic Kidney, Autosomal Dominant / drug therapy*
  • Polycystic Kidney, Autosomal Dominant / pathology
  • Polycystic Kidney, Autosomal Dominant / physiopathology
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Sirolimus / adverse effects
  • Sirolimus / pharmacology
  • Sirolimus / therapeutic use*
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Young Adult


  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Creatinine
  • MTOR protein, human
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Sirolimus

Associated data