All African American renal transplant recipients (>3months and <5 years post-transplant) at our institution that are currently on a tacrolimus based regimen will be screened. Subjects with 10% or more decrease in glomerular filtration rate (GFR) from baseline, estimated by the MDRD formula,65 and who meet all inclusion criteria will be consented to be enrolled in the study. Baseline will be defined as the highest GFR estimated by MDRD formula, within 3 months of transplant.
Subjects who consent to participate in the study will undergo allograft biopsy and GFR measurement by Gd-DTPA, and will be randomly assigned (2:1) to undergo conversion from tacrolimus to sirolimus or to continue to receive tacrolimus.
The subjects assigned to the sirolimus conversion group will be initiated on sirolimus 5mg po daily at which time their tacrolimus dose will be decreased by 50%. Sirolimus levels will be checked within a week and adjusted in a linear fashion to achieve a trough goal of 12-15ng/ml in subjects within 1 year post-transplant, and 8-12 ng/ml in subjects more than 1 year post-transplant. Tacrolimus will be continued in these subjects until sirolimus target trough levels are achieved. Thereafter, tacrolimus will be discontinued indefinitely. Sirolimus trough levels will be monitored in the study as follows: weekly for the first month, monthly from 1 - 6 months, every 3 months from 6 months - 1 year post conversion. Subjects will continue to receive maintenance immunosuppression consisting of mycophenolate mofetil 500mg to 1000 mg po bid as tolerated and corticosteroid taper per protocol (maintenance of 2.5mg - 5mg po daily at 6 months post-transplant and then indefinitely). GFR measurement by DTPA will be repeated at 6 months, and 1 year post conversion. The second allograft biopsy will be performed at 1 year after sirolimus conversion.
The subjects assigned to the tacrolimus maintenance group (control group) represent our present standard of care. The subjects will continue to receive prednisone, and mycophenolate mofetil, similarly to the subjects assigned to the sirolimus conversion group. In the tacrolimus maintenance group, the subjects will be monitored according to our current clinic protocol, monthly between 3 months - 1 year post transplant, every two months in the second year post-transplant and every 3 months after 2 years. The tacrolimus dose will be adjusted to achieve a trough of 5-10ng/ml in subjects randomized to the control group which is standard of care per protocol. GFR measurement by DTPA will be repeated at 6 months, and 1 year post randomization. The second allograft biopsy will be performed at 1 year post randomization.
Patient and graft survival, and the incidence of acute rejection, proteinuria, hyperlipidemia, anemia, leucopenia, thrombocytopenia, and other clinical parameters will be monitored and compared between the sirolimus conversion group and the subjects who will be maintained on tacrolimus.