Strategies for minimizing immunosuppression in kidney transplantation.

Transplantation Branch, Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Center Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.
Transplant International (Impact Factor: 3.16). 02/2005; 18(1):2-14. DOI: 10.1111/j.1432-2277.2004.00019.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Immunosuppression remains the cause of most morbidity following organ transplantation. However, its use is also responsible for the outstanding graft and patient survival rates commonplace in modern transplantation. Thus, the predominant challenge for transplant clinicians is to provide a level of immunosuppression that prevents graft rejection while preserving immunocompetence against environmental pathogens. This review will outline several strategies for minimizing or tailoring the use of immunosuppressive drugs. The arguments for various strategies will be based on clinical trial data rather than animal studies. A distinction will be made between conventional immunosuppressive drug reduction based on over-immunosuppression, and newer induction methods specifically designed to lessen the need for chronic immunosuppression. Based on the available data we suggest that most patients can be transplanted with less immunosuppression than is currently standard.

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    ABSTRACT: Kidney transplantation improves quality of life and reduces the risk of mortality. A majority of the success of kidney transplantation is attributable to the calcineurin inhibitors (CNIs), cyclosporine and tacrolimus, and their ability to reduce acute rejection rates. However, long-term graft survival rates have not improved over time, and although controversial, evidence does suggest a role of chronic CNI toxicity in this failure to improve outcomes. Consequently, there is interest in reducing or removing CNIs from immunosuppressive regimens in an attempt to improve outcomes. Several strategies exist to spare calcineurin inhibitors, including use of agents such as mycophenolate mofetil (MMF), mycophenolate sodium (MPS), sirolimus, everolimus or belatacept to facilitate late calcineurin inhibitor withdrawal, beyond 6 mo post-transplant; or using these agents to plan early withdrawal within 6 mo; or to avoid the CNIs all together using CNI-free regimens. Although numerous reviews have been written on this topic, practice varies significantly between centers. This review organizes the data based on patient characteristics (i.e., the baseline immunosuppressive regimen) as a means to aid the practicing clinician in caring for their patients, by matching up their situation with the relevant literature. The current review, the first in a series of two, examines the potential of immunosuppressive agents to facilitate late CNI withdrawal beyond 6 mo post-transplant, and has demonstrated that the strongest evidence resides with MMF/MPS. MMF or MPS can be successfully introduced/maintained to facilitate late CNI withdrawal and improve renal function in the setting of graft deterioration, albeit with an increased risk of acute rejection and infection. Additional benefits may include improved blood pressure, lipid profile and serum glucose. Sirolimus has less data directly comparing CNI withdrawal to an active CNI-containing regimen, but modest improvement in short-term renal function is possible, with an increased risk of proteinuria, especially in the setting of baseline renal dysfunction and/or proteinuria. Renal outcomes may be improved when sirolimus is used in combination with MMF. Although data with everolimus is less robust, results appear similar to those observed with sirolimus.
    World journal of transplantation. 06/2014; 4(2):57-80.
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    ABSTRACT: Calcineurin inhibitors (CNIs) represent today a cornerstone for the maintenance immunosuppressive treatment in solid organ transplantation. Nevertheless, several attempts have been made either to minimize their dosage or to avoid CNIs at all because these drugs have the severe side effect of chronic nephrotoxicity. This issue represents a frontier for renal transplantation. The principal problem is to understanding whether the poor outcome over the long-term may be ascribed to CNIs nephrotoxicity or to the inability of these drugs to control the acute and chronic rejection B cells mediated. The authors analyze extensively all the international trials attempting to withdraw, minimize or avoid the use of CNIs. Few trials undertaken in low risk patients with an early conversion from CNIs to proliferation signal inhibitors were successful, but the vast majority of trials failed to improve CNIs side effects. To date the use of a new drug, a co-stimulation blocker, seems promising in avoiding CNIs with similar efficacy, better glomerular filtration rate and an improved metabolic profile. Moreover the use of this drug is not associated with the development of donor-specific anti-human leukocyte antigen antibodies. This point has a particular relevance, because the failure of CNIs to realize good outcomes in renal transplantation has recently ascribed to their inability to control the acute and chronic rejections B-cell mediated. This paper analyzes all the recent studies that have been done on this issue that represents the real frontier that should be overcome to realize better results over the long-term after transplantation.
    World journal of transplantation. 06/2013; 3(2):7-25.
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Organ transplant recipients (OTRs) taking immunosuppressants are at high risk of skin cancer, which is the most common malignant condition in OTRs, so dermatologic surveillance is important for OTRs. OBJECTIVES: To characterize the most common skin cancers arising from chronic immunosuppression in OTRs. METHODS: A PubMed search for retrospective single- and multicenter studies reporting skin cancer incidence from 2006 to 2010 was undertaken. Data regarding each study's immunosuppressive regimen, affected skin cancer cohort, and associated risk factors were extracted. RESULTS: Thirty-six articles that met our inclusion criteria reported incidences of nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC), Kaposi's sarcoma, melanoma, and Merkel cell carcinoma. NMSC was the most commonly reported cancer of all skin cancers after transplantation. Common risk factors were sex, age, sunlight exposure, and immunosuppressive agent-related (duration, type). CONCLUSION: Sun education programs and frequent screenings in organ transplant clinics have provided the best preventative strategies after transplantation, although the characteristics of the immunosuppressive regimen also play an important role. Thus, the adjuvant strategy of modifying immunosuppression may be effective when confronting severe transplant-associated skin cancer. Although the decision-making process for curbing levels of immunosuppression is difficult, further long-term, randomized controlled studies should assess the effect of using less immunosuppressant medication while preserving graft function.
    Dermatologic Surgery 11/2012; · 1.56 Impact Factor