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      Functional and histological improvement after everolimus rescue of chronic allograft dysfunction in renal transplant recipients

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          We tested the strategy of mTOR inhibitors with calcineurin inhibitor minimization in renal transplant recipients with known chronic allograft dysfunction.


          In this open-label, single-arm study, renal transplant patients were recruited after biopsy-confirmed chronic allograft dysfunction in the absence of acute rejection episode within 2 months, with proteinuria <0.8 g/day, and serum creatinine <220 μmol/L or estimated glomerular filtration rate >40 mL/min/1.73 m 2. They were converted to everolimus (aiming for trough everolimus level 3–8 ng/mL) with cyclosporine minimization, to assess the effect on renal function, rate of glomerular filtration rate decline, and longitudinal transplant biopsy at 12 months.


          Seventeen Chinese patients (median transplant duration, 4.2 years) were recruited; no patients discontinued study medication. The mean slope of the glomerular filtration rate over time was −4.31±6.65 mL/min/1.73 m 2 per year in the year before everolimus, as compared with 1.29±5.84 mL/min/1.73 m 2 per year in the 12 months of everolimus therapy, a difference of 5.61 mL/min/1.73 m 2 per year (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.40–10.8) favoring everolimus therapy ( P=0.036). Serial renal biopsy histology showed significant decrease of tubular atrophy (15.7%±11.3% versus 7.1%±7.3%, P=0.005) and interstitial fibrosis (14.8%±11.5% versus 7.2%±8.2%, P=0.013). Intrarenal expression of TGF-β1 mRNA showed a nonsignificant decrease after everolimus treatment.


          In renal transplant recipients with biopsy-confirmed chronic allograft dysfunction, we found a significant beneficial effect of everolimus rescue therapy and calcineurin inhibitor minimization strategy on the improvement of glomerular filtration rate decline rate. In secondary analysis, everolimus was shown to slow down the disease progression by reducing the tubular atrophy and interstitial fibrosis scoring.

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          Most cited references 18

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          Fibrosis with inflammation at one year predicts transplant functional decline.

          Lack of knowledge regarding specific causes for late loss of kidney transplants hampers improvements in long-term allograft survival. Kidney transplants with both interstitial fibrosis and subclinical inflammation but not fibrosis alone after 1 year have reduced survival. This study tested whether fibrosis with inflammation at 1 year associates with decline of renal function in a low-risk cohort and characterized the nature of the inflammation. We studied 151 living-donor, tacrolimus/mycophenolate-treated recipients without overt risk factors for reduced graft survival. Transplants with normal histology (n = 86) or fibrosis alone (n = 45) on 1-year protocol biopsy had stable renal function between 1 and 5 years, whereas those with both fibrosis and inflammation (n = 20) exhibited a decline in GFR and reduced graft survival. Immunohistochemistry confirmed increased interstitial T cells and macrophages/dendritic cells in the group with both fibrosis and inflammation, and there was increased expression of transcripts related to innate and cognate immunity. Pathway- and pathologic process-specific analyses of microarray profiles revealed that potentially damaging immunologic activities were enriched among the overexpressed transcripts (e.g., Toll-like receptor signaling, antigen presentation/dendritic cell maturation, IFN-γ-inducible response, cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated and acute rejection-associated genes). Therefore, the combination of fibrosis and inflammation in 1-year protocol biopsies associates with reduced graft function and survival as well as a rejection-like gene expression signature, even among recipients with no clinical risk factors for poor outcomes. Early interventions aimed at altering rejection-like inflammation may improve long-term survival of kidney allografts.
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            Effect of histological damage on long-term kidney transplant outcome.

            Chronic renal allograft failure remains a major challenge to overcome. Factors such as donor quality, delayed graft function (DGF), acute rejection, and immunosuppression are known to affect long-term outcome, but their relationship to histological damage to graft outcome is unclear. Protocol kidney biopsies (n=112) obtained at 3 months after transplantation yielded 102 with adequate tissue. Histology was scored by the Banff schema, and compared with implantation biopsies (n=91), repeat 12-month histology (n=39), decline in serum creatinine and serial isotopic glomerular filtration rate, onset of chronic allograft nephropathy (CAN), and actuarial graft survival censored for death with a functioning graft. At a median follow-up of 9.3 years, 20 patients had graft failure and 26 died with a functioning graft. Banff chronic nephropathy was present in 24% of 3-month biopsies, and was predicted by microvascular disease in the donor, cold ischemia, DGF, and acute vascular rejection (P<0.001). Acute glomerulitis at 3 months correlated with segmental glomerulosclerosis at 12 months, subsequent recurrent glomerulonephritis, and graft failure (P<0.01). Subclinical rejection at 3 months occurred in 29% of biopsies, correlated with prior acute rejection and HLA mismatch, and led to chronic histological damage by 12 months (r=0.25-0.67, P<0.05-0.001). Subclinical rejection, arteriolar hyalinosis, and tubulitis present at 3 months had resolved by 12 months. The 10-year survival rates for Banff chronic nephropathy were 90.4% for grade 0, 81.0% grade 1, and 57.9% for grades 2 or greater (P<0.01). Early tubulointerstitial damage at 3 months profoundly influenced graft survival beyond 10 years. CAN was predicted by kidney ischemia, 3-month chronic intimal vascular thickening, tubular injury, proteinuria, and late rejection. Chronic fibrointimal thickening of the small arteries and chronic interstitial fibrosis at 3 months independently predicted graft loss and decline in renal function (P<0.05-0.001). Early transplant damage occurs in the tubulointerstitial compartment from preexisting donor kidney injury and discrete events such as vascular rejection and DGF. Subsequent chronic damage and graft failure reflect accumulated previous injury and chronic interstitial fibrosis, vascular impairment, subclinical rejection, and injury from late rejection. CAN may be conceptualized as the sequelae of incremental and cumulative damage to the transplanted kidney. The duration of graft survival is dependent and predicted by the quality of the transplanted donor kidney combined with the intensity, frequency, and irreversibility of these damaging insults.
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              Conversion of long-term kidney transplant recipients from calcineurin inhibitor therapy to everolimus: a randomized, multicenter, 24-month study.

              Benefits of conversion from calcineurin inhibitor (CNI) to mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitor-based immunosuppression in long-term kidney transplant patients remain uncertain. ASCERTAIN was a 24-month, open-label, multicenter study. Kidney transplant patients more than 6 months posttransplant receiving CNI (baseline glomerular filtration rate [GFR] 30-70 mL/min/1.73 m) were randomized to everolimus with CNI elimination (n=127) or CNI minimization (n=144), or continued CNI unchanged (controls, n=123) to assess the effect on measured GFR at month 24 after randomization. Renal function was stable in all groups to month 24. Mean measured GFR at month 24, the primary endpoint, was 48.0±22.0 mL/min/1.73 m, 46.6±21.1 mL/min/1.73 m, and 46.0±20.4 mL/min/1.73 m in the CNI elimination, CNI minimization, and control groups, respectively. Differences between CNI elimination (1.12 mL/min/1.73 m, 95% confidence interval [CI] -3.51 to 5.76, P=0.63) and CNI minimization (0.59 mL/min/1.73 m, 95% CI -3.88 to 5.07, P=0.79) versus controls at month 24 were nonsignificant that is, the primary endpoint was not met. No efficacy endpoint differed significantly between groups. Post hoc analyses showed that patients with baseline creatinine clearance (CrCl) more than 50 mL/min had a significantly greater increase in measured GFR after CNI elimination versus controls (difference 11.4 mL/min/1.73 m, 95% CI 2.1 to 20.8 mL/min/1.73 m, P=0.017). Adverse events resulted in discontinuation in 36 (28.3%) CNI elimination patients, 24 (16.7%) CNI minimization patients, and 5 (4.1%) controls (P<0.001 vs. CNI elimination; P=0.020 vs. CNI minimization). Conversion to everolimus with CNI elimination or minimization a mean of 5.6 years after kidney transplantation had no overall renal benefit and was associated with more frequent adverse events and discontinuations. Patients with CrCl more than 50 mL/min may benefit from a change in therapy more than 6 months after renal transplantation.

                Author and article information

                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Dove Medical Press
                19 May 2015
                : 11
                : 829-835
                [1 ]Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, Hong Kong
                [2 ]Department of Anatomical and Cellular Pathology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, Hong Kong
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Kai Ming Chow, Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, Prince of Wales Hospital, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong, Email chow_kai_ming@ 123456alumni.cuhk.net
                © 2015 Chow et al. This work is published by Dove Medical Press Limited, and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License

                The full terms of the License are available at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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