Everolimus Monotherapy as Immunosuppression After Liver Transplant

  • End date
    Dec 23, 2028
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Indiana University
Updated on 23 January 2021


Tacrolimus is the standard immunosuppressive drug used to prevent organ rejection post liver transplant. One side effect of Tacrolimus is nephrotoxicity. Everolimus does not have the nephrotoxicity side effects of Tacrolimus.

Replacement of Tacrolimus by Everolimus may have a reduced incidence of renal dysfunction in liver transplant patients who have near normal kidney function prior to liver transplantation. Other investigators have already shown a benefit in terms of renal function with introduction of Everolimus with reduced-exposure tacrolimus at 1 month after liver transplantation, this benefit has been shown was maintained to 3 years in patients who continued Everolimus therapy with comparable efficacy and no late safety concerns. Investigators in this trial are proposing to advance this approach further by completely eliminating Tacrolimus from patients' immunosuppression protocol. The rationale for this approach is based on a unique induction immunosuppression protocol.

Liver transplant patients receive potent induction immunosuppression in the form of rabbit anti thymocyte globulin.

Investigators believe that in conjunction with this induction regimen, patients can be maintained on Everolimus monotherapy without the risk of rejection. By completely eliminating Tacrolimus, investigators believe that there may be further benefit in terms of renal function. Additionally, Everolimus is known to induce tolerance in transplant recipients. Tolerant patients do not require immunosuppression to accept transplant organs.

The long-term efficacy and safety of Everolimus monotherapy as the maintenance immunosuppression in patients receiving rATG induction is unknown.

Primary Aim: Assess the effect of Everolimus monotherapy versus Tacrolimus monotherapy on long term renal function measured by Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR).


Following enrollment, subjects will be randomized at one month post transplant to Tacrolimus (control) or to Everolimus (study) as maintenance immunosuppression.

After liver transplant, all patients will receive the standard induction regimen and Tacrolimus monotherapy.


Rabbit anti-thymocyte globulin (rATG) 1.5 mg/kg of actual body weight rounded to nearest 25 mg and capped at 150 mg for up to three doses given IV on post-operative day (POD) 1, 3, and 5. Some patients may receive only one dose if considered too frail to need all three doses.

30 minutes prior to infusion, pre-medicate with the following: Daily steroid dose Acetaminophen (Tylenol) 650 mg PO or per nasogastric (NG) x 1 dose Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) 25 mg IV push x 1 dose


Methylprednisolone (Solu-Medrol) 250 mg IV push x 1 dose on POD 1 (given 30 minutes prior to rATG) and 125 mg IV push x 1 dose on POD 3.


Tacrolimus (FK / Prograf) (titrated to a goal trough of 6 - 8 ng/mL).


On POD 30, patients meeting study criteria will be randomized to either the study arm or control arm. Patients randomized to the study arm will be converted to Everolimus (target trough levels 4 - 8 ng/mL) + low dose Tacrolimus (target trough levels 3-5 ng/mL) (study arm). The control arm will be maintained on the Tacrolimus monotherapy (target trough levels 6-8 ng/mL).

At 3 months, patients in the study arm will be gradually weaned off of Tacrolimus over a period of one month to remain on Everolimus monotherapy (target trough levels 4-8 ng/mL). Patients in the control arm will remain on tacrolimus monotherapy (target trough levels 6-8 ng/mL).

Complete blood counts, liver function panels, and drug levels will be monitored as done Standard of Care [SOC]:

initially twice per week for first month, once per week for next two months, once every other week for next three weeks, and then once monthly. Ultrasound, endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), biopsy as needed by clinical situation as SOC.

For characterizing operational tolerance in these patients, investigators will use a 13#gene set to predict liver transplant tolerance has been identified and validated by others.

Condition Renal Failure, Nephropathy, Kidney Disease (Pediatric), Kidney Failure (Pediatric), Kidney Disease, Kidney Failure, renal insufficiency
Treatment Tacrolimus, Everolimus
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04063865
SponsorIndiana University
Last Modified on23 January 2021


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Is your age greater than or equal to 18 yrs?
Gender: Male or Female
Do you have any of these conditions: Renal Failure or Kidney Failure (Pediatric) or renal insufficiency or Nephropathy or Kidney Failure or Kidney Disease or Kidney Disease (Pediatric)?
Liver transplant recipients >= 18 years old
Normal baseline renal dysfunction (GFR > 60 mL/min)
Rabbit anti-thymocyte globulin (rATG) induction (cumulative dose 1.5 - 5 mg/kg)
Indication for transplant: ethanol, hepatitis C, or nonalcoholic steatohepatitis or any combination of these

Exclusion Criteria

Increased risk of rejection: autoimmune hepatitis, primary biliary cirrhosis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, positive crossmatch, retransplantation
Incompletely healed incision or other wound healing issues at time of randomization
Multiple or previous organ transplantation
Severe, uncontrolled hypercholesterolemia (> 9mmol/L) or hypertriglyceridemia (>8.5 mmol/L) in the 6 months prior to transplantation
Insurance company unwilling to pay for the cost of the everolimus or patient does not qualify for the Novartis Patient Assistance Program
Pregnant women
Unable to provide informed consent
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