Clinical and cost effectiveness of the newer immunosuppressant regimes in renal transplantation: Systematic review and modelling study

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Objectives: To examine the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the newer immunosuppressive drugs for renal transplantation: basiliximab, daclizumab, tacrolimus, mycophenolate ( mofetil and sodium) and sirolimus. Data sources: Electronic databases. Industry submissions. Current Clinical Trials register. Cochrane Collaboration Renal Disease Group. Review methods: The review followed the InterTASC standards. Each of the five company submissions to the National Institute for Clinical Excellence ( NICE) contained cost-effectiveness models, which were evaluated by using a critique covering ( 1) model checking, ( 2) a detailed model description and ( 3) model rerunning. Results: For induction therapy, three randomised controlled trials (RCTs) found that daclizumab significantly reduced the incidence of biopsy-confirmed acute rejection and patient survival at 6 months/1 year compared with placebo, but not compared with the monoclonal antibody OKT3. There was no significant gain in patient survival or graft loss at 3 years. The incidence of side-effects with daclizumab reduced compared to OKT3. Eight RCTs found that basiliximab significantly improved 6-month/1-year biopsy-confirmed acute rejection compared to placebo, but not compared to either ATG or OKT3. There was no significant gain in either 1-year patient survival or graft loss. The incidence of side-effects with basiliximab was not significantly different compared to OKT3/ATG. For initial/maintenance therapy, 13 RCTs found that tacrolimus reduced the 6-month/1-year incidence of biopsy-proven acute rejection compared to ciclosporin. There was no significant improvement in either 1-year or long-term ( up to 5 years) graft loss or patient survival. The acute rejection benefit of tacrolimus over ciclosporin appeared to be equivalent for Sandimmun and Neoral. There were important differences in the side-effect profile of tacrolimus and ciclosporin. Seven RCTs found that mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) reduced the incidence of acute rejection. There was no significant difference in patient survival or graft loss at 1-year or 3-year follow-up. There appeared to be differences in the side-effect profiles of MMF and azathioprine (AZA). No RCTs comparing MMF with AZA were identified. One RCT compared mycophenolate sodium ( MPS) to MMF and reported no difference between the two drugs in 1-year acute rejection rate, graft survival, patient survival or side-effect profile. Two RCTs suggest that addition of sirolimus to a ciclosporin-based initial/maintenance therapy reduces 1-year acute rejections in comparison to a ciclosporin ( Neoral) dual therapy alone and substituting azathioprine with sirolimus in initial/maintenance therapy reduces the incidence of acute rejection. Graft and patient survival were not significantly different with either sirolimus regimen. Adding sirolimus increases the incidence of side-effects. The side-effect profiles of azathioprine and sirolimus appear to be different. For the treatment of acute rejection, three RCTs suggested that both tacrolimus and MMF reduce the incidence of subsequent acute rejection and the need for additional drug therapy. Only one RCT and one subgroup analysis in children (<18 years) were identified comparing ciclosporin to tacrolimus and sirolimus, respectively. Conclusions: The newer immunosuppressant drugs ( basiliximab, daclizumab, tacrolimus and MMF) consistently reduced the incidence of short-term ( 1-year) acute rejection compared with conventional immunosuppressive therapy. The independent use of basiliximab, daclizumab, tacrolimus and MMF was associated with a similar absolute reduction in 1-year acute rejection rate ( approximately 15%). However, the effects of these drugs did not appear to be additive ( e. g. benefit of tacrolimus with adjuvant MMF was 5% reduction in acute rejection rate compared with 15% reduction with adjuvant AZA). Thus, the addition of one of these drugs to a baseline immunosuppressant regimen was


Original languageEnglish
Article number01/59/01
Pages (from-to)1-194
Number of pages194
JournalHealth Technology Assessment
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2005