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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the authors' final version prior to publication in Clinical Transplanation.

Volume 27, Issue 3, May 2013, Pages 463-471.

The published version is available at DOI: 10.1111/ctr.12119. Copyright ©



INTRODUCTION: Corticosteroids (CS) have been standard immunosuppression to prevent and treat rejection. However, CS are associated with increased risk of infection, obesity, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, and accelerated hepatitis C virus (HCV) recurrence post-orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). This study assesses the safety and efficacy of CS-free immunosuppressive regimen in adult OLT.

METHODS: A two-yr, prospective, randomized study of CS with delayed withdrawal (CS) or CS-free regimen with basiliximab, tacrolimus, and enteric-coated mycophenolate sodium (EC-MPS) was performed in 39 patients (CS=20; CS-free=19). CS group received intra-operative methylprednisolone weaned by six months. HCV patients had HCV PCR pre-OLT and 0.5, one, three, and six months post-OLT. Protocol liver biopsies were performed at OLT, 2 and 24 wk post-OLT or when indicated.

RESULTS: Rejection occurred in two patients. Patient survival at one yr (100% vs. 95%), three yr (85% vs. 63%), and five yr (80% vs. 63%) post-OLT were similar between CS and CS-free group, respectively. Death-censored graft survival at one yr (100% vs. 95%), three yr (85% vs. 63%), and five yr (75% vs. 63%) were also similar. The risk of new-onset DM, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and weight gain was similar between groups.

CONCLUSION: CS avoidance with basiliximab, calcineurin inhibitor, and EC-MPS is safe and effective as CS- containing immunosuppression in adult OLT.

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