A randomized, double-blind trial of basiliximab immunoprophylaxis plus triple therapy in kidney transplant recipients

Claudio Ponticelli, Alexander Yussim, Vincenzo Cambi, Christophe Legendre, Gaetano Rizzo, Maurizio Salvadori, Delawir Kahn, Habib Kashi, Kaija Salmela, Lutz Fricke, Uwe Heemann, Javier Garcia-Martinez, Robert Lechler, Hans Prestele, Daniele Girault

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study was performed to assess whether immunoprophylaxis with basiliximab (Simulect®) could reduce the incidence of acute rejection in kidney transplant recipients treated with cyclosporine (Neoral®), steroids, and azathioprine. Methods. Three hundred forty patients received either placebo or basiliximab at a dose of 20 mg, given intravenously on days 0 and 4. All patients received cyclosporine, steroids, and azathioprine. The primary endpoint was the incidence of acute rejection at 6 months. Secondary endpoints included the safety and tolerability of basiliximab and placebo, 1-year patient and graft survival, and significant medical events up to 12 months. Results. During the first 6 months posttransplantation, acute rejection occurred in 20.8% of patients given basiliximab versus 34.9% of patients administered placebo (P=0.005). Similarly, there was a reduction in biopsy-proven acute rejection at 6 months in the patients receiving basiliximab (P=0.023). One-year patient survival was 97.6% with basiliximab and 97.1% with placebo, graft survival was 91.5% versus 88.4%, respectively (NS). The adverse-events profile of patients treated with basiliximab was indistinguishable from that of patients treated with placebo. The number of patients with infections was similar (65.5% for basiliximab vs. 65.7% for placebo), including cytomegalovirus infections (17.3% vs. 14.5%, P=0.245). Nine neoplasms (three in the basiliximab group, six in the placebo arm) were recorded up to 1 year from transplantation. Conclusions. Basiliximab in combination with cyclosporine, steroids, and azathioprine triple therapy was highly effective in reducing the incidence of acute renal allograft rejection without increasing the incidence of infections and other side effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1261-1267
Number of pages7
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 15 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation
  • Immunology


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