Causes of graft loss beyond two years in the cyclosporine era

Transplantation. 1990 Feb;49(2):349-53. doi: 10.1097/00007890-199002000-00024.


While CsA has improved renal-allograft survival rates in the first 2 years compared with Aza, Terasaki's multicenter study (1) failed to show any difference in long-term graft survival in CsA-Pred versus Aza-Pred-treated recipients. The present study examines the long-term graft-survival rates at a single center using CsA immunosuppression and seeks to discern the causes of 58 graft losses among 343 patients with functioning grafts beyond 2 years posttransplantation. The 6-year primary and cadaveric actuarial graft survival at this institution is 59% with a graft half-life of 10 years, which is better than the 40% and 7.7 years, respectively, reported by Terasaki (1) for primary cadaveric recipients on Aza-Pred. It is also better than the 41%, 6-year survival and 5.5-year half-life for primary cadaveric recipients treated with CsA-Pred as reported in the multicenter study. (1) Less experience with the use of CsA may explain the latter comparison. Primary LRD grafts at this institution (2/3 haploidentical) have a 6-year actuarial survival of 77% and a half-life very closely approximating that of HLA-identical LRD grafts under Aza (23.4 years). These results demonstrate that CsA mitigates the effects of HLA incompatibility to reduce graft survival. The most common cause of graft loss beyond 2 years was chronic rejection (36.2%) followed by noncompliance (27.6%). Patient deaths resulted in 13 of the 58 graft losses; most of the deaths were related to cardiovascular diseases. Only 3 patients died from causes that could be attributed to CsA immunosuppression; 2 from sepsis and 1 from viral hepatitis. Acute rejection caused 8.6% of the graft losses on continuous CsA therapy. When immunologic risk factors were analyzed, the entire graft-loss group had a significantly higher proportion of retransplant patients than the graft-survival group (P less than 0.005), suggesting that prior transplantation imposes a higher risk for graft loss not only acutely but long term as well. However, retransplanted patients were significantly less likely to lose their grafts because of noncompliance (P less than 0.005). Male patients were found to be significantly more noncompliant.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cadaver
  • Cyclosporins / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Graft Rejection
  • Graft Survival
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppression / methods
  • Kidney Transplantation / immunology*
  • Male
  • Patient Compliance
  • Prednisone / therapeutic use
  • Risk Factors


  • Cyclosporins
  • Prednisone