Tacrolimus was used as the primary immunosuppressive agent in 69 pediatric renal transplantations between December 17, 1989, and June 30, 1995. Children undergoing concomitant or prior liver and/or intestinal transplantation were excluded from analysis. The mean recipient age was 10.3±5.0 years (range, 0.7-17.5 years). Seventeen (24.6%) children were undergoing retransplantation, and six (8.7%) had a panel reactive antibody level of 40% or higher. Thirty-nine (57%) cases were with cadaveric kidneys, and 30 (43%) were with living donors. The mean donor age was 28.0±14.7 years (range, 1.0-50.0 years), and the mean cold ischemia time for the cadaveric kidneys was 27.0±9.4 hr. The antigen match was 2.7±1.2, and the mismatch was 3.1±1.2. All patients received tacrolimus and steroids, without antibody induction, and 26% received azathioprine as well. The mean follow-up was 32±20 months. One- and 4-year actuarial patient survival rates were 100% and 95%. One- and 4-year actuarial graft survival rates were 99% and 85%. The mean serum creatinine level was 1.2±0.8 mg/dl, and the calculated creatinine clearance was 82±26 ml/min/1.73 m2. The mean tacrolimus dose was 0.22±0.14 mg/kg/day, and the level was 9.5±4.8 ng/ml. The mean prednisone dose was 2.1±4.9 mg/day (0.07±0.17 mg/kg/day), and 73% of successfully transplanted children were off prednisone. Seventy-nine percent were not taking any antihypertensive medications. The mean serum cholesterol level was 158±54 mg/dl. The incidence of delayed graft function was 4.3%. The incidence of rejection was 49%, and the incidence of steroid-resistant rejection was 6%. The incidence of rejection decreased to 27% in the most recent 26 cases (January 1994 through June 1995). The incidence of new-onset diabetes was 10.1%; six of the seven affected children were able to be weaned off insulin. The incidence of cytomegalovirus disease was 13%, and that of posttransplant lymphoproliferative disorder was 10%; the incidence of posttransplant lymphoproliferative disorder in the last 40 transplants was 5% (two cases). All of the children who developed posttransplant lymphoproliferative disorder are alive and have functioning allografts. Based on this data, we believe that tacrolimus is a superior immunosuppressive agent in pediatric renal transplant patients, with excellent short- and medium-term patient and graft survival, an ability to withdraw steroids in the majority of patients, and, with more experience, a decreasing rate of rejection and vital complications.