Effects of steroid avoidance and novel protocols on growth in paediatric renal transplant patients
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- Grenda, R. Pediatr Nephrol (2010) 25: 747. doi:10.1007/s00467-009-1318-3
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The vast majority of kidney transplant recipients undergo triple maintenance immunosuppression that includes the use of steroids. Irrespective of their long history in organ transplantation and proven efficacy in preventing acute graft rejection, steroids exhibit an unfavourable toxicity profile, including growth retardation in children. Given these negative effects, therapeutic approaches that will substantially decrease patients’ exposure to steroids have been considered. The planned approaches included alternate day administration, rapid or late steroid withdrawal at the pre-scheduled time after transplantation and complete steroid avoidance. All three of these strategies have been tested in single- or multicentre studies and shown to have distinct clinical advantages in terms of decreasing the incidence and severity of specific adverse events. However, the safety of these protocols could not be universally proven. The Stanford study showed that a complete steroid avoidance under the “cover” of tacrolimus, mycophenolate mofetil and extended daclizumab induction is a very effective regimen for obtaining an improvement in post-transplantation growth. The recently reported international randomized TWIST trial demonstrated growth improvement as early as 6 months post-transplantation. These protocols may potentially enable paediatric renal graft recipients to safely avoid steroid exposure.