Open Access Open Badges Research

A pilot study of reduced dose cyclosporine and corticosteroids to reduce new onset diabetes mellitus and acute rejection in kidney transplant recipients

Edward H Cole1*, GV Ramesh Prasad2, Carl J Cardella3, Joseph S Kim3, Kathryn J Tinckam4, Daniel C Cattran3, Jeffrey R Schiff3, David N Landsberg5, Jeffrey S Zaltzman6 and John S Gill5

Author Affiliations

1 Toronto General Hospital, 190 Elizabeth Street, M5G 2C4, Toronto, ON, Canada

2 St Michael's Hospital, 61 Queen Street East, M5C 2T2, Toronto, ON, Canada

3 Toronto General Hospital, 585 University Avenue, NCSB, M5G 2N2, Toronto, ON, Canada

4 Histocompatibility Laboratory, 67 College Street, M5G 2M1, Toronto, ON, Canada

5 St Paul’s Hospital, 1081 Burrard Street, V6Z 1Y6, Vancouver, BC, Canada

6 St Michael's Hospital, 30 Bond Street, M5B 1W8, Toronto, ON, Canada

For all author emails, please log on.

Transplantation Research 2013, 2:1  doi:10.1186/2047-1440-2-1

Published: 12 January 2013



New onset diabetes mellitus (NODM) and acute rejection (AR) are important causes of morbidity and risk factors for allograft failure after kidney transplantation.


In this multi-center, open label, single-arm pilot study, 49 adult (≥18 years of age), low immunologic risk, non-diabetic recipients of a first deceased or living donor kidney transplant received early steroid reduction to 5 mg/day combined with Thymoglobulin® (Genzyme Transplant, Cambridge, MA, USA) induction, low dose cyclosporine (2-hour post-dose (C2) target of 600 to 800 ng/ml) and mycophenolic acid (MPA) therapy.


Six months after transplantation, two patients (4%) developed NODM and one patient (2%) developed AR. Four patients had impaired fasting glucose tolerance based on 75-g oral glucose tolerance testing (OGTT). There was one patient death. There were no episodes of cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection or BK virus nephritis. In contrast, in a historical cohort of n = 27 patients treated with Thymoglobulin induction, and conventional doses of cyclosporine and corticosteroids, the incidence of NODM and AR was 18% and 15%.


The pilot study results suggest that Thymoglobulin induction combined with early steroid reduction, reduced cyclosporine exposure and MPA, may reduce the incidence of both NODM and AR in low immunological risk patients. A future controlled study enriched for patients at high risk for NODM is under consideration.

Trial registration http://NCT00706680 webcite

New onset diabetes mellitus; Steroid minimization; Cyclosporine minimization