Long-term follow-up after conversion from tacrolimus to cyclosporin in renal transplant patients with new-onset diabetes mellitus after transplantation

Transplant Proc. 2012 Nov;44(9):2582-4. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2012.09.066.


Introduction: The relationship between anticalcineurin (CNI) drugs and the development new-onset diabetes mellitus after kidney transplantation (NODAT) is well established. Among these agents cyclosporine shows lesser diabetogenicity than tacrolimus. It has been described that conversion from tacrolimus to cyclosporine improves glycemic control; however, there are no studies showing whether this reduced risk is maintained upon long-term follow-up.

Objective: To evaluate whether CNI drugs conversion from tacrolimus to cyclosporine helps to maintain better glycemic control.

Materials and methods: We retrospectively evaluated the evolution of glucose metabolism at 5 years after conversion from tacrolimus to cyclosporine in eight patients (six men) with NODAT. Mean age was 42.8 ± 15 years, and time after transplantation to conversion 128 ± 40 months. We analyzed fasting serum glucose, lipid metabolism, renal function, and cyclosporine levels at 0, 6, 12, 24, 36, 48, and 60 months after conversion.

Results: At 6 months after conversion, improved glucose metabolism was observed (268 ± 161 versus 121 ± 31 mg/dL; P < .01) although it was minimal in one case with persistent high blood glycemic levels. Only two patients maintained a normal glucose at the end of follow-up. Five subjects showed increased glycemia at 12 to 24 months after conversion requiring antidiabetic therapy: three patients, insulin and two oral antidiabetic agents. Two patients lost their allografts due to chronic rejection at 32 and 50 months respectively. Among the other six patients, renal function remained stable (1.9 ± 0.6 versus 2.11 ± 0.97 mg/dL; P = NS). There was no significant differences among the other variables. Cyclosporine levels remained stable during the follow-up.

Conclusion: Conversion of renal transplant patients with NODAT from tacrolimus to cyclosporine improves glucose metabolism in the short term but glycemia increases thereafter.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Calcineurin Inhibitors
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cyclosporine / adverse effects*
  • Cyclosporine / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus / chemically induced*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / drug therapy
  • Drug Substitution*
  • Female
  • Graft Rejection / immunology
  • Graft Survival / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects*
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / blood
  • Kidney / drug effects
  • Kidney / physiopathology
  • Kidney Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Lipids / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Tacrolimus / adverse effects*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Glucose
  • Calcineurin Inhibitors
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Lipids
  • Cyclosporine
  • Tacrolimus