Results of pancreas transplantation after steroid withdrawal under tacrolimus immunosuppression

Mark L. Jordan, Pradip Chakrabarti, Patrick Luke, Ron Shapiro, Carlos A. Vivas, Velma P. Scantlebury, John J. Fung, Thomas E. Starzl, Robert J. Corry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Purpose. The results of steroid withdrawal in pancreas transplant recipients under tacrolimus immunosuppression were analyzed. Methods. From July 4, 1994 until April 30, 1998, 147 pancreas transplantations were performed in 141 patients, including 126 simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplantations, 13 pancreas after kidney transplantation, and 8 pancreas transplantations alone. Baseline immunosuppression consisted of tacrolimus and steroids without antilymphocyte induction. Twenty-three patients were excluded from analysis because of early graft loss in 17 cases, retransplantation in 5 cases, and simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplantation after heart transplantation in 1 patient. Results. With a mean follow-up of 2.8±1.1 years (range 1.0 to 4.8 years), complete steroid withdrawal was achieved in 58 (47%) patients with a mean time to steroid withdrawal of 15.2±8 months (range 4 to 40 months after transplantation). Of the entire cohort of 141 patients, overall 1-, 2-, and 4-year patient survival rates were 98%, 95.5%, and 86%, respectively. Overall 1-, 2-, and 4- year graft survival rates were 83%, 80%, and 71% (pancreas) and 95%, 91%, and 84% (kidney), respectively. Of the 124 patients analyzed for steroid withdrawal, 1-, 2-, and 4-year patient survival rates were 98%, 97%, and 92%, respectively. Overall 1-, 2-, and 4-year graft survival rates were 98%, 91.5%, 83% (pancreas) and 97%, 95%, and 91% (kidney). Patient, pancreas, and kidney survival rates at 1 year were 100%, 100%, and 98% (off steroids) versus 97%, 91%, and 96% (on steroids, all NS) and at 4 years were 100%, 94%, and 95% (off steroids) versus 78%, 68%, and 85% (on steroids, P=0.01, 0.002, and NS, respectively). The cumulative risk of rejection at the time of follow-up was 76% for patients on steroids versus 74% for patients off steroids (P=NS). Seven patients originally tapered off steroids were treated for subsequent rejection episodes, which were all steroid sensitive, and two of these seven patients are currently off steroids. Thirteen patients received antilymphocyte therapy for steroid-resistant rejection, five of whom are now off steroids. Tacrolimus trough levels were 9.3±2.4 ng/ml (off steroids) and 9.7±4.3 (on steroids, P=NS). Mean fasting glucose levels were 98±34 mg/dl (off steroids) and 110±41 mg/dl (on steroids, P=NS). Mean glycosylated hemoglobin levels were 5.2±0.9% (off steroids) and 6.2±2.1% (on steroids, P=0.02), and mean serum creatinine levels were 1.4±0.8 mg/dl (off steroids) and 1.7±1.0 mg/dl (on steroids, P=0.02). Conclusion. These data show for the first time that steroid withdrawal can be safely accomplished in pancreas transplant recipients maintained on tacrolimus-based immunosuppression. Steroid withdrawal is associated with excellent patient and graft survival with no increase in the cumulative risk of rejection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-271
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - 27 Jan 2000
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Results of pancreas transplantation after steroid withdrawal under tacrolimus immunosuppression'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this