Cyclosporine microemulsion and tacrolimus are associated with decreased chronic allograft failure and improved long-term graft survival as compared with sandimmune

Herwig Ulf Meier-Kriesche, Bruce Kaplan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

48 Scopus citations


Tacrolimus and cyclosporine in the microemulsion formulation Neoral® have demonstrated improvements in acute rejection rates after renal transplantation compared with conventional cyclosporine formulation, Sandimmune®. To evaluate whether these drugs are also associated with improvements in chronic allograft failure (CAF) rates, we retrospectively analyzed 32 040 primary renal allograft recipients reported to the United States Renal Data System (USRDS) between 1994 and 1997. Graft loss secondary to CAF was defined as graft loss beyond 6 months post-transplant, censored for death, acute rejection, thrombosis, infections and noncompliance. A Cox proportional hazard model was used to investigate the relationship between graft loss secondary to CAF and the use of conventional cyclosporine formulation, as opposed to cyclosporine microemulsion and tacrolimus (Prograf®). The analysis was corrected for confounding variables, such as acute rejection, sex, race, human leukocyte antigen (HLA) mismatch, % panel reactive antibodies (PRA), delayed graft function (DGF), cold ischemia time, induction therapy, dialysis time, etiology of end-stage renal disease, cytomegalovirus (CMV) risk group, donor source, era effect, and mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) use. Cyclosporine microemulsion use was associated with a significantly lower relative risk (RR = 0.6, Cl = 0.5-0.7) for CAF as opposed to conventional cyclosporine formulation. Likewise tacrolimus as compared with conventional cyclosporine formulation was associated with a significantly lower relative risk (RR = 0.7, Cl = 0.6-0.8) for CAF. Conventional cyclosporine formulation treatment was associated with a 87.6% adjusted CAF-free survival rate at 4 years. Both tacrolimus and cyclosporine microemulsion were associated with a significantly better adjusted CAF-free survival at 4 years (91.4 and 92.4%, respectively). Both cyclosporine microemulsion and tacrolimus are associated with improved graft survival and a decreased relative risk for CAF when compared with the older conventional cyclosporine formulation. This association is independent of the use of MMF or changes in era.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-104
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002



  • Cyclosporine
  • Graft survival
  • Tacrolimus
  • Transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Transplantation
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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