Aims: The purpose of this study is to investigate tacrolimus trough-level variability from 3 to 12 months following transplantation and its association with allograft survival in renal transplant recipients.
Materials and methods: In this observational cohort study, tacrolimus trough-level variability was used as the predictor of all-cause allograft failure (defined as return to dialysis) and patient survival (all-cause mortality).
Results: In total, 394 transplants were included in the analysis. Sixty-two transplants failed during the study. Tacrolimus trough-level variability across quartile groups were: Q1 median variability 12.5 %, range 4.76-15.71 % (n = 99), Q2 median variability 18.17 %, range 15.74-21.29 % (n = 96), Q3 median variability 24.63 % range 21.42-28.88 % (n = 100), Q4 median variability 36.91 %, range 28.91-81.9 % (n = 99). Higher tacrolimus trough-level variability was associated with inferior allograft survival in univariate models [hazard ratio per quartile increase (HR), 1.46, 95 % CI 1.16-1.83, p value = 0.001] and multivariate models (HR 1.36, 95 % CI 1.05-1.78, p value = 0.019). Higher tacrolimus trough-level variability was not associated with patient survival; univariate model (HR 1.25, 95 % CI 0.90-1.74, p value = 0.17), multivariate model (HR 1.25, 95 % CI 0.86-1.83, p value = 0.23).
Conclusions: Inferior renal allograft survival was observed in recipients with higher variability in tacrolimus trough-levels.
Keywords: Kidney; Tacrolimus; Transplantation; Variability.