Immunosuppression in hepatitis C virus-infected patients after kidney transplantation

Contrib Nephrol. 2012:176:97-107. doi: 10.1159/000332387. Epub 2012 Jan 30.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is an important health problem in kidney transplant recipients with a significantly higher prevalence than in the general population. Kidney transplantation remains the treatment of choice for most HCV-infected patients with end-stage kidney disease, in spite of lower patient and graft survival as compared to HCV-negative patients. Immunosuppression likely has significant consequences on HCV replication and/or disease after transplantation. However, determining the best immunosuppressive strategies after kidney transplantation in the presence of HCV infection remains challenging. The use of induction therapy is not contraindicated, and a short-course induction may actually be beneficial in HCV-infected kidney transplant recipients. Corticosteroid withdrawal may be an acceptable option in HCV-infected patients with specific comorbidities such as diabetes mellitus or osteoporosis. The best calcineurin inhibitor to be used in HCV-infected patients remains to be determined, as there is a lack of large controlled trials addressing this particular issue. Overall, immunosuppressive regimens need to be individualized according to clinical parameters other than HCV, such as the patient's immunological risk and other comorbidities. In conclusion, there is a need for prospective controlled studies to define the optimal immunosuppressive regimen in HCV-infected kidney transplant recipients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Graft Survival
  • Hepatitis C / complications*
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppression Therapy / adverse effects
  • Immunosuppression Therapy / methods
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / surgery*
  • Kidney Transplantation* / immunology


  • Immunosuppressive Agents