Background: Acute rejection is an inherent risk of the withdrawal of steroids in renal allograft recipients. Mycophenolate mofetil is a potent immunosuppressant that, when given with cyclosporine (CsA), reduces the incidence of acute rejection and may facilitate discontinuation of steroids without increasing the risk of rejection.
Methods: In an open pilot study, steroids were withdrawn from 26 adult cadaveric kidney transplant recipients. Corticosteroids were discontinued between 4 and 30 (mean 17) months after transplantation, and steroid-free follow-up ranged from 7 to 18 (mean 10) months.
Results: Mean CsA doses, CsA blood levels, and serum creatinine at the time of steroid withdrawal and at last patient visit after cessation of steroids were 4.2+/-1.2 mg/kg/day and 3+/-0.8 mg/kg/day (P<0.001), 170+/-53 ng/ml and 113+/-34 ng/ml (P<0.001), and 133+/-36 microM/L and 130+/-37 microM/L (NS), respectively. No rejection episodes occurred after steroid withdrawal.
Conclusions: This open study shows that corticosteroids can be safely and successfully withdrawn from renal allograft recipients receiving CsA and mycophenolate mofetil.