Cyclosporine, tacrolimus and sirolimus retain their distinct toxicity profiles despite low doses in the Symphony study.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


BACKGROUND: Reducing side effects of immunosuppressive regimens has become a priority in transplantation medicine because of the large number of patients and grafts that succumb to infection in the short term and cardiovascular disease in the long term. The Symphony study was a 12-month prospective, randomized, open-label, multi-centre, four parallel arm study that aimed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of low-dose immunosuppressive regimens compared with a standard-dose regimen in renal transplant recipients. This sub-analysis focuses on specific toxicities observed with the low-dose regimens. METHODS: Adult patients (n = 1645) scheduled to undergo renal transplantation received low-dose cyclosporine (CsA), tacrolimus (Tac) or sirolimus (SRL) in addition to daclizumab induction or standard-dose cyclosporine without induction. All patients received mycophenolate mofetil and corticosteroids. We evaluated the incidence of adverse events (AEs), tested specific group differences and assessed the relationship of selected AEs with drug levels. RESULTS: The four arms had similar incidences of AEs, but serious AEs were more common with low-dose SRL and led to more discontinuations. Infections were the most common AEs, with the highest incidence in the standard-dose CsA group, in particular, cytomegalovirus (CMV) infections. Low-dose Tac had the most reports of new-onset diabetes, leucopenia and diarrhoea. Low-dose SRL negatively influenced triglycerides, wound healing, lymphocele and anaemia. We found only weak relationships between specific AEs and drug levels. CONCLUSIONS: Despite the low doses, CsA, Tac and SRL retained distinct and different toxicity profiles. These findings may be of relevance for tailoring specific immunosuppressive regimens to patients with particular needs.


  • Henrik Ekberg
  • Corrado Bernasconi
  • Jana Nöldeke
  • Alexander Yussim
  • Lars Mjörnstedt
  • Ugur Erken
  • Markus Ketteler
  • Pavel Navrátil
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Urology and Nephrology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2004-2010
JournalNephrology, dialysis, transplantation : official publication of the European Dialysis and Transplant Association - European Renal Association
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Publication categoryResearch