Background: Given the high mortality rate for patients with end-stage kidney disease receiving dialysis and the efficacy and safety of hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatments, discarded kidneys from HCV-infected donors may be a neglected public health resource.
Objective: To determine the tolerability and feasibility of using direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) as prophylaxis before and after kidney transplantation from HCV-infected donors to non-HCV-infected recipients (that is, HCV D+/R- transplantation).
Design: Open-label nonrandomized trial. (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT02781649).
Setting: Single center.
Participants: 10 HCV D+/R- kidney transplant candidates older than 50 years with no available living donors.
Intervention: Transplantation of kidneys from deceased donors aged 13 to 50 years with positive HCV RNA and HCV antibody test results. All recipients received a dose of grazoprevir (GZR), 100 mg, and elbasvir (EBR), 50 mg, immediately before transplantation. Recipients of kidneys from donors with genotype 1 infection continued receiving GZR-EBR for 12 weeks after transplantation; those receiving organs from donors with genotype 2 or 3 infection had sofosbuvir, 400 mg, added to GZR-EBR for 12 weeks of triple therapy.
Measurements: The primary safety outcome was the incidence of adverse events related to GZR-EBR treatment. The primary efficacy outcome was the proportion of recipients with an HCV RNA level below the lower limit of quantification 12 weeks after prophylaxis.
Results: Among 10 HCV D+/R- transplant recipients, no treatment-related adverse events occurred, and HCV RNA was not detected in any recipient 12 weeks after treatment.
Limitation: Nonrandomized study design and a small number of patients.
Conclusion: Pre- and posttransplantation HCV treatment was safe and prevented chronic HCV infection in HCV D+/R- kidney transplant recipients. If confirmed in larger studies, this strategy should markedly expand organ options and reduce mortality for kidney transplant candidates without HCV infection.
Primary funding source: Merck Sharp & Dohme.