Early steroid withdrawal compared with standard immunosuppression in kidney transplantation - Interim analysis of the Amsterdam-Leiden-Groningen randomized controlled trial

Marit S. van Sandwijk, Aiko P. J. de Vries, Stephan J. L. Bakker, Ineke J. M. ten Berge, Stefan P. Berger, Yassine R. Bouatou, Johan W. de Fijter, Sandrine Florquin, Jaap J. Homan van der Heide, Mirza M. Idu, Christina Krikke, Karlijn A. M. I. van der Pant, Marlies E. Reinders, Jan Ringers, Neelke C. van der Weerd, Frederike J. Bemelman, Jan-Stephan S. Sanders

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BACKGROUND. The optimal immunosuppressive regimen in kidney transplant recipients, delivering maximum efficacy with minimal toxicity, is unknown. METHODS. The Amsterdam, LEiden, GROningen trial is a randomized, multicenter, investigator-driven, noninferiority, open-label trial in 305 kidney transplant recipients, in which 2 immunosuppression minimization strategies—one consisting of early steroid withdrawal, the other of tacrolimus minimization 6 months after transplantation—were compared with standard immunosuppression with basiliximab, corticosteroids, tacrolimus, and mycophenolic acid. The primary endpoint was kidney function. Secondary endpoints included death, primary nonfunction, graft failure, rejection, discontinuation of study medication, and a combined endpoint of treatment failure. An interim analysis was scheduled at 6 months, that is, just before tacrolimus minimization. RESULTS. This interim analysis revealed no significant differences in Modification of Diet in Renal Disease between the early steroid withdrawal group and the standard immunosuppression groups (43.2 mL/min per 1.73 m 2 vs 45.0 mL/min per 1.73 m 2 , P = 0.408). There were also no significant differences in the secondary endpoints of death (1.0% vs 1.5%; P = 0.737), primary nonfunction (4.1% vs 1.5%, P = 0.159), graft failure (3.1% vs 1.5%, P = 0.370), rejection (18.6% vs 13.6%, P = 0.289), and discontinuation of study medication (19.6% vs 12.6%, P = 0.348). Treatment failure, defined as a composite endpoint of these individual secondary endpoints, was more common in the early steroid withdrawal group (P = 0.027), but this group had fewer serious adverse events and a more favorable cardiovascular risk profile. CONCLUSIONS. Based on these interim results, early steroid withdrawal is a safe short-term immunosuppressive strategy. Long-term outcomes, including a comparison with tacrolimus minimization after 6 months, will be reported in the final 2-year analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere354
Pages (from-to)e354
JournalTransplantation direct
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Kidney transplant
  • short-term immunosuppressive strategy
  • steroid withdrawal
  • tacrolimus minimization

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