Tacrolimus vs. cyclosporine A as primary immunosuppression in pediatric renal transplantation: a NAPRTCS study.
Using the North American Renal Transplant Cooperative Study (NAPRTCS) database, we performed a retrospective cohort study of 986 pediatric renal transplant recipients (index transplant 1997-2000) who were treated either with Cyclosporine A (CSA), Mycophenolate Mofetil (MMF) and steroids (n = 766) or tacrolimus (TAC), MMF and steroids (n = 220) to examine potential difference in clinical outcomes between these two groups. In the first year post-transplant, time to first rejection (29.1% vs. 29%, p = 0.840), risk for rejection [Adjusted Relative Risk (aRR) 1.01, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 0.77, 1.323], graft survival (96.8% vs. 97.9%, p = 0.607) and risk for graft failure (aRR 0.988, 95% CI 0.64, 1.928) were not significantly different in TAC and CSA-treated patients. At 2 yr post-transplant, there was also no difference in risk for rejection (aRR 0.918, 95% CI 0.669, 1.259), graft survival (91.4% vs. 95.1%, p = 0.152) and risk for graft failure (aRR 0.702, 95% CI 0.461, 1.762) in the subset of 391 CSA-treated patients and 77 TAC-treated patients on whom 2 yr follow data were available in the database. TAC-treated patients were significantly less likely to require antihypertensive medication at 1 yr [aRR 0.74 (95% CI 0.454, 0.637)] and 2 yr post-transplant [aRR 0.67 (95% CI 0.56, 0.793)]. At 1 yr post-transplant, TAC-treated patients enjoyed a higher mean GFR as estimated by the Schwartz formula [89.1 mL/min/1.73 m(2) (SE 2.64) vs. 78.6 mL/min/1.73 m(2) (SE 1.07), p = 0.0003]. In addition, in the subset of patients with 2 yr of follow-up, TAC patients had a higher mean GFR at both 1 yr [98.6 mL/min/1.73 m(2) (SE 3.83) vs. 78.0 mL/min/1.73 m(2) (SE 1.44), p = 0.0003] and 2 yr post-transplant [96.7 mL/min/1.73 m(2) (SE 3.33) vs. 73.2 mL/min/1.73 m(2) (SE 1.48), p < 0.0001]. In summary, TAC and CSA, in combination with MMF and steroids, produce similar rejection rates and graft survival in pediatric renal transplant recipients. However, TAC is associated with improved graft function at 1 and 2 yr post-transplant. Further analysis as more patient data are obtained will be necessary to determine if this difference in graft function persists and translates into improved graft survival.