Calcineurin inhibitor- and steroid-free immunosuppression in pancreas-kidney and solitary pancreas transplantation

Rainer W.G. Gruessner, Raja Kandaswamy, Abhinav Humar, Angelika C. Gruessner, David E.R. Sutherland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


Background. Calcineurin inhibitors and steroids are standard immunosuppressants in solid organ transplantation, but (long-term) side effects are harmful to the recipient and the graft. The authors present a novel strategy for posttransplant immunosuppression that combines a depleting antibody with an antimetabolite, avoiding calcineurin inhibitors and steroids. Methods. In a prospective, nonrandomized, observational cohort study, 75 pancreas-kidney and solitary pancreas recipients received alemtuzumab (4 doses for induction and up to 12 doses within the first year) and mycophenolate mofetil (≥2 g/day) for induction and maintenance therapy. Minimum follow-up was 6 months. We compared the results with a historical group of 266 consecutive pancreas recipients on Thymoglobulin (induction) and tacrolimus (maintenance). Results. Differences in patient and graft survival rates between the study and control groups at 6 months were not statistically significant. However, the incidence of a first reversible rejection episode was significantly higher for simultaneous pancreas-kidney recipients in the study (vs. control) group. We noted a trend toward higher modification of renal disease levels at 6 months posttransplant in the study (vs. control) groups. Conclusions. The combination of alemtuzumab and mycophenolate mofetil was associated with an acceptable rejection rate, a good safety profile, and good (graft and native) kidney function; it eliminated undesired calcineurin inhibitor- and steroid-related side effects. Longer follow-up is warranted before expanded application can be recommended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1184-1189
Number of pages6
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 15 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Calcineurin inhibitor-free immunosuppression
  • Campath
  • Kidney transplantation
  • Pancreas transplantation
  • Steroid-free immunosuppression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation


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