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15 January 2015 : Original article  

Sustained Virological Response to Antiviral Therapy in a Randomized Trial of Cyclosporine versus Tacrolimus in Liver Transplant Patients with Recurrent Hepatitis C Infection

Christophe DuvouxABCE, Federico VillamilABCE, Eberhard L. RennerABCE, Gian Luca GraziABCE, Robert J. FirpiABCE, Georges PageauxABE, Beat MulhauptBE, Florian SchirmCE, Barbara RauerDE, Peter BernhardtDE, Gary LevyABCE

DOI: 10.12659/AOT.892032

Ann Transplant 2015; 20:25-35


BACKGROUND: Choice of calcineurin inhibitor may influence response to antiviral therapy in liver transplant patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: In a randomized, multicenter, 80-week trial, liver transplant recipients (>6 months and £10 years post-transplant) with recurrent HCV infection received cyclosporine (n=50) or tacrolimus (n=42) with a 48-week course of pegylated interferon (peg-IFNα2a) and ribavirin. Twenty-three patients in each group completed the trial on study medication. The primary endpoint was sustained virological response (SVR) 24 weeks after the end of antiviral therapy, for which 43 patients were eligible for analysis.

RESULTS: The rate of SVR was 60.0% (12/20) with cyclosporine and 43.5% (10/23) with tacrolimus (adjusted odds ratio 1.85; 95% CI 0.53–6.43; p=0.331). There were no significant intergroup differences for rapid or early virological response, relapse, HCV RNA viral load, or fibrosis progression. One cyclosporine-treated patient experienced acute rejection. One patient died in each group. Adverse events, treatment-related adverse events, and serious adverse events were similar between groups.

CONCLUSIONS: Since fewer patients were recruited than planned (92 versus 355), the study was underpowered and robust conclusions cannot be drawn regarding the effect of cyclosporine and tacrolimus on virological responses to antiviral treatment for recurrent HCV after liver transplantation. However, as reported in other trials, SVR was higher in cyclosporine-treated patients.

Keywords: Cyclosporine, Liver Transplantation, Tacrolimus


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Annals of Transplantation eISSN: 2329-0358
Annals of Transplantation eISSN: 2329-0358