Tacrolimus Concentration-to-Dose Ratios in Kidney Transplant Recipients and Relationship to Clinical Outcomes

Felicia E. Bartlett, Clarice E. Carthon, Jennifer C. Hagopian, Timothy A. Horwedel, Spenser E. January, Andrew Malone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Introduction: One factor impacting tacrolimus interpatient variability is the presence of CYP3A5 polymorphisms. Low tacrolimus concentration-to-dose ratios (CDRs), or rapid metabolizers (RMs), have been associated with poor graft function outcomes and higher biopsy-proven acute rejection (BPAR) rates in a predominantly white population. Pretransplant CYP genotyping is not routinely conducted, and therefore only a small number of studies have assessed the use of tacrolimus CDRs as a surrogate for metabolism. We explored differences in outcomes between patients with low tacrolimus CDRs and high tacrolimus CDRs (i.e., nonrapid metabolizers [NRMs]) in a diverse patient population. Objective: To determine the relationship between tacrolimus CDRs and graft and patient outcomes in kidney transplant recipients at a large transplant center between 2006 and 2016. Methods: Inclusion criteria consisted of adult kidney transplant recipients who received rabbit antithymocyte globulin induction followed by a maintenance regimen of tacrolimus, mycophenolate, and prednisone. The primary end point was BPAR at 1 year. Secondary end points included graft survival, patient survival, and toxicities. Determination of clusters was conducted using the two-step cluster analysis with a defined two-cluster distribution. Kaplan-Meier survival curves were created using the log-rank test. Results: The NRM cluster consisted of 322 patients with a mean CDR of 2.91 ng/ml/mg. The RM cluster consisted of 932 patients with a mean CDR of 1.14 ng/ml/mg. The BPAR at 1 year posttransplant was 3.7% in the NRM cluster and 3.6% in the RM cluster (p=0.95). Death at 5 years was higher in the NRM group compared with the RM group for unknown reasons (p=0.03). Differences in the incidence of posttransplant toxicities were not statistically significant at any time point, except for increased rates of cutaneous cancer at 5 years and cardiovascular disease overall in the NRM group. Conclusion: Tailoring tacrolimus therapy early posttransplant based on CDR is not supported by the findings in this study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)827-836
Number of pages10
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2019


  • genotype
  • immunosuppression
  • kidney transplantation
  • patient-centered care
  • tacrolimus


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