Steroid-free induction and preemptive antiviral therapy for liver transplant recipients with hepatitis C: A preliminary report from a prospective randomized study

T. Kato, H. Yoshida, K. Sadfar, E. Martinez, S. Nishida, J. Moon, J. Madariaga, G. Selvaggi, D. Levi, P. Ruiz, E. Schiff, A. Tzakis

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35 Scopus citations


Recurrence of hepatitis C (HepC) has been a most difficult dilemma in liver transplantation (OLT) because the effects of immunosuppression with steroid, mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) calcineurin antagonists, and anti-interleukin-2 antibody as well as the role of preemptive antiviral therapy are uncertain. In this study, we randomized OLT recipients with HepC into two treatment arms: tacrolimus+daclizumab+MMF (study arm) versus tacrolimus+steroids+MMF (control arm). The study arm only received steroids for the treatment of biopsy-proven rejection episodes. Both arms received preemptive anti-viral therapy with Pegasys and ribavirin. The 39 enrolled patients (among 50 to be enrolled) have median follow-up of 458 days with 23 patients (8 in study arm, 15 in control arm) having reached 1 year. The incidences of rejection episodes within 0 to 3 months, 3 to 6 months, and 6 to 12 months were (study vs control): 0% vs 28%; 0% vs 6%; and 13% vs 20%; respectively (P = NS). The 1-year protocol biopsies showed advanced fibrosis (stage 3 or greater) in 20% (3 of 15) of the control arm, but none (0 of 7) of the study arm (P = NS). We compared anticipated side effects of steroids in the first 3 months (study vs control): hypertension (36% vs 58%, P = NS), PTDM (7% vs 43%, P =. 02), and wound infections (14% vs 37%, P = NS). In conclusion, liver transplant recipients with HepC tolerate a steroid-free protocol. There was a trend toward reduced steroid side effects and a lower incidence of advanced fibrosis in 1-year biopsy samples among patients receiving the steroid-free protocol.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1217-1219
Number of pages3
JournalTransplantation proceedings
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2005


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Transplantation

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