Background. We examined the feasibility of rapid corticosteroid elimination in simultaneous pancreas kidney transplantation. Methods. Forty consecutive simultaneous pancreas-kidney (SPK) transplant recipients were enrolled in a prospective study in which antithymocyte globulin induction and 6 days of corticosteroids were administered along with tacrolimus and MMF (n=20) or tacrolimus and sirolimus (n=20). Mean±SD follow-up for recipients receiving tacrolimus/MMF and tacrolimus/sirolimus were 12.7±3.9 and 13.4±2.9 months, respectively. Patient and graft survival, and rejection rates were compared to an historical control group (n=86; mean follow-up 41.5±15.4 months) of SPK recipients that received induction and tacrolimus, MMF, and corticosteroids. Results. Demographic characteristics of recipient and donor variables were similar among all groups. The 1-year actuarial patient, kidney, and pancreas survival rates in the 40 SPK transplant recipients with rapid corticosteroid elimination were 100, 100, and 100%, respectively. In the historical control group the 1-year actual patient, kidney, and pancreas survival rates were 96.5, 93.0, and 91.9%, respectively. The 1-year rejection-free survival rate recipients in the rapid steroid elimination group collectively was 97.5 vs 80.2% in the historical control group (P=0.034). At 6 and 12 months posttransplant the serum creatinine values remained stable in all groups. Conclusions. We conclude that chronic corticosteroid exposure is not required in SPK transplant recipients receiving antithymocyte globulin induction and maintenance immuno-suppression consisting of either tacrolimus and mycophenolate mofetil or tacrolimus and sirolimus.
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