Sirolimus in liver transplant recipients: a large single-center experience

Transplant Proc. 2010 Sep;42(7):2579-84. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2010.04.045.


Sirolimus (SRL) is a newer immunosuppressant whose possible benefits and side effects in comparison to calcineurin inhibitors (CNIs) still have to be addressed in the liver transplantation setting. We report the results of the use of SRL in 86 liver transplant recipients, 38 of whom received SRL as the main immunosuppressant in a CNI-sparing regimen. Indications for the use of SRL were: impaired renal function (n = 32), CNI neurotoxicity (n = 16), hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) at high risk of recurrence (n = 21), recurrence of HCC (n = 6), de novo malignancies (n = 4), cholangiocarcinoma (n = 1), and the need to reinforce immunosuppression (n = 6). Among patients on SRL-based treatment, four episodes of acute rejection were observed, three of which occurred during the first postoperative month. Renal function significantly improved when sirolimus was introduced within the third postoperative month, while no change was observed when it was introduced later. Neurological symptoms resolved completely in 14/16 patients. The 3-year recurrence-free survival of patients with HCC on SRL was 84%. Sixty-two patients developed side effects that required drug withdrawal in seven cases. There was a reduced prevalence of hypertension and new-onset diabetes among patients under SRL. In conclusion, SRL was an effective immunosuppressant even when used in a CNI-sparing regimen. It was beneficial for patients with recently developed renal dysfunction or neurological disorders.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / surgery
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Kidney Function Tests
  • Liver Cirrhosis / classification
  • Liver Cirrhosis / surgery
  • Liver Neoplasms / surgery
  • Liver Transplantation / immunology*
  • Liver Transplantation / physiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recurrence
  • Sirolimus / administration & dosage
  • Sirolimus / adverse effects
  • Sirolimus / therapeutic use*
  • Time Factors


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Sirolimus