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Liver Transpl. 2006 May;12(5):762-7.

Effect of calcineurin inhibitors on survival and histologic disease severity in HCV-infected liver transplant recipients.

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HepatoGastroenterology Service, Hospital Universitario La Fe, Valencia, Spain.


The severity of recurrent hepatitis C virus (HCV) is likely related to several factors. Controversial results have been reported regarding the effect of specific calcineurin-inhibitors. The aim of this research was to determine whether there are differences on posttransplantation outcome in HCV-infected patients based on initial immunosuppression. Prospective randomized trial comparing tacrolimus vs. cyclosporine-based immunosuppression in a cohort of patients undergoing primary orthotopic liver transplantation between 2001 and 2003 was used. Yearly biopsies were performed. Patients with at least 1 protocol biopsy and those with very severe recurrence despite a follow-up of less than 1 yr (cholestatic hepatitis, progression to bridging fibrosis/cirrhosis) were included. Baseline characteristics (demographics, liver function at transplantation, genotype distribution, donor, surgery, immunosuppression except for the type of calcineurin inhibitor) did not differ between the 2 groups. Severe disease (defined as bridging fibrosis, cirrhosis, cholestatic hepatitis, and/or death due to recurrent disease in the first year) was present in 27 in 90 (30%), and was equally distributed in the cyclosporine and tacrolimus groups (15/46 vs. 12/44, respectively). A total of 33 in 90 (37%) patients had no fibrosis in the first year biopsy with no difference between the cyclosporine and tacrolimus groups (36.5 vs. 37%). The percentage of patients developing recurrent acute hepatitis was also similar (32% vs 35%); time to acute hepatitis though was shorter in the tacrolimus group (59 days [35-185] vs. 92 days [39-343] in the cyclosporin group; P = 0.02). Cholestatic hepatitis was observed in 4 of 44 and 5 of 46 patients under cyclosporine and tacrolimus, respectively (P = not significant). In conclusions, the short-term posttransplantation course of hepatitis C is not related to the calcineurin inhibitor used.

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