Everolimus Initiation With Early Calcineurin Inhibitor Withdrawal in De Novo Heart Transplant Recipients: Three-Year Results From the Randomized SCHEDULE Study

Am J Transplant. 2016 Apr;16(4):1238-47. doi: 10.1111/ajt.13588. Epub 2016 Jan 28.


In a randomized, open-label trial, de novo heart transplant recipients were randomized to everolimus (3-6 ng/mL) with reduced-exposure calcineurin inhibitor (CNI; cyclosporine) to weeks 7-11 after transplant, followed by increased everolimus exposure (target 6-10 ng/mL) with cyclosporine withdrawal or standard-exposure cyclosporine. All patients received mycophenolate mofetil and corticosteroids. A total of 110 of 115 patients completed the 12-month study, and 102 attended a follow-up visit at month 36. Mean measured GFR (mGFR) at month 36 was 77.4 mL/min (standard deviation [SD] 20.2 mL/min) versus 59.2 mL/min (SD 17.4 mL/min) in the everolimus and CNI groups, respectively, a difference of 18.3 mL/min (95% CI 11.1-25.6 mL/min; p < 0.001) in the intention to treat population. Multivariate analysis showed treatment to be an independent determinant of mGFR at month 36. Coronary intravascular ultrasound at 36 months revealed significantly reduced progression of allograft vasculopathy in the everolimus group compared with the CNI group. Biopsy-proven acute rejection grade ≥2R occurred in 10.2% and 5.9% of everolimus- and CNI-treated patients, respectively, during months 12-36. Serious adverse events occurred in 37.3% and 19.6% of everolimus- and CNI-treated patients, respectively (p = 0.078). These results suggest that early CNI withdrawal after heart transplantation supported by everolimus, mycophenolic acid and steroids with lymphocyte-depleting induction is safe at intermediate follow-up. This regimen, used selectively, may offer adequate immunosuppressive potency with a sustained renal advantage.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01266148.

Keywords: cardiology, immunosuppression; clinical research; clinical trial modulation; heart transplantation; immune; immunosuppressant; mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR); mechanistic target of rapamycin: everolimus; practice.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Allografts
  • Calcineurin Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Cyclosporine / therapeutic use
  • Everolimus / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Graft Rejection / diagnosis
  • Graft Rejection / etiology
  • Graft Rejection / prevention & control*
  • Graft Survival / drug effects*
  • Heart Diseases / surgery
  • Heart Transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Kidney Function Tests
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Transplant Recipients
  • Vascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Vascular Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Vascular Diseases / etiology
  • Withholding Treatment
  • Young Adult


  • Calcineurin Inhibitors
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Cyclosporine
  • Everolimus

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01266148