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Transplantation. 2002 Mar 27;73(6):953-9.

Improved clinical outcomes for liver transplant recipients using cyclosporine monitoring based on 2-hr post-dose levels (C2).

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Toronto General Hospital, M5G 2C4 Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



A prospective, open-label, study was conducted at 29 centers in 9 countries, involving 307 de novo liver transplant patients to compare the clinical usefulness of monitoring 2-hr post-dose cyclosporine (CsA) levels (C2) with conventional trough cyclosporine blood levels (pre-dose) (C0).


Neoral oral therapy was initiated at 15 mg/kg/day and dose adjusted according to predetermined C2 or C0 target level ranges. The primary efficacy variable was treatment failure at 3 months, where evaluation was based on a composite endpoint of biopsy-proven rejection, treatment for rejection, graft loss, death, or premature withdrawal/discontinuation from the study.


Baseline characteristics were similar between groups. Graft loss at 12 weeks (retransplantation or death) occurred in 6.8% C2 and in 7.0% C0 patients. Overall incidence of treated acute rejection was lower for C2 (23.6%) than C0 patients (31.6%) (P=0.144, Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel [CMH] test). In hepatitis C virus (HCV)-negative patients, the incidence of rejection in the C2 group was significantly less than in the C0 group (21.2% vs. 33.0%; P<0.05), whereas in HCV-positive patients, the rejection rate was similar in both groups (26.7% for C2 group vs. 27.3% for C0 group: P=0.81). C2 patients (n=16) who reached minimum target CsA levels by day 3 had a notably low incidence of rejection (12.5%), whereas there was no difference in the incidence of rejection in C0 patients, irrespective of time to reach target level. For biopsy-proven acute rejections (21.6% for C2 vs. 30.4% for C0), the incidence of moderate and severe histological diagnosis was significantly lower in the C2 group than in the C0 group (47% vs. 73%; P=0.01). Safety profiles were similar between the two groups, with few patient withdrawals due to adverse events (9.5% for C2; 7.0% for C0).


Using C2 monitoring, the overall incidence of acute cellular rejection was lower compared with the C0 group, and the histological severity of acute rejections was shown to be significantly milder for the C2 group, indicative of good long-term prognosis. These data demonstrate that the use of C2 monitoring is superior to C0 and results in a reduction in the incidence and severity of acute cellular rejection without detrimental effect on the drug safety profile.

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