Sustained virological response to antiviral therapy in a randomized trial of cyclosporine versus tacrolimus in liver transplant patients with recurrent hepatitis C infection

Christophe Duvoux, Federico Villamil, Eberhard L. Renner, Gian Luca Grazi, Roberto J. Firpi, Georges Pageaux, Beat Mullhaupt, Florian Schirm, Barbara Rauer, Peter Bernhardt, Gary Levy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Choice of calcineurin inhibitor may influence response to antiviral therapy in liver transplant patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.

Material/Methods: In a randomized, multicenter, 80-week trial, liver transplant recipients (>6 months and £10 years post-transplant) with recurrent HCV infection received cyclosporine (n=50) or tacrolimus (n=42) with a 48-week course of pegylated interferon (peg-IFNa2a) and ribavirin. Twenty-three patients in each group completed the trial on study medication. The primary endpoint was sustained virological response (SVR) 24 weeks after the end of antiviral therapy, for which 43 patients were eligible for analysis.

Results: The rate of SVR was 60.0% (12/20) with cyclosporine and 43.5% (10/23) with tacrolimus (adjusted odds ratio 1.85; 95% CI 0.53-6.43; p=0.331). There were no significant intergroup differences for rapid or early virological response, relapse, HCV RNA viral load, or fibrosis progression. One cyclosporine-treated patient experienced acute rejection. One patient died in each group. Adverse events, treatment-related adverse events, and serious adverse events were similar between groups.

Conclusions: Since fewer patients were recruited than planned (92 versus 355), the study was underpowered and robust conclusions cannot be drawn regarding the effect of cyclosporine and tacrolimus on virological responses to antiviral treatment for recurrent HCV after liver transplantation. However, as reported in other trials, SVR was higher in cyclosporine-treated patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-35
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of Transplantation
Publication statusPublished - 2015



  • Cyclosporine
  • Liver transplantation
  • Tacrolimus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation
  • Medicine(all)

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