The role of mTOR inhibitors in the prevention of organ rejection in adult liver transplant patients: a focus on everolimus
Liver Transplant Unit, Bellvitge University Hospital, Barcelona, Spain
Abstract: Liver transplantation remains the therapy of choice for patients with end-stage liver disease and in selected cases of hepatocellular carcinoma. While short-term allograft survival has improved significantly in recent years, there has been little improvement in long-term survival after liver transplantation. A growing body of evidence on factors influencing the long-term outcomes and the safety profiles of existing immunosuppressive agents after liver transplant points to a need to continue searching for alternative strategies. The calcineurin inhibitors (CNIs) (cyclosporine and tacrolimus) currently represent the backbone of most immunosuppressor regimens. They have had a revolutionary effect on the overall success of transplantation, as is reflected in greatly reduced rates of acute rejection. However, the CNIs have significant toxicities that produce renal dysfunction, cardiovascular disease, and other unwanted effects, such as malignancies. The recognition of these risk factors has sparked interest in regimens that limit exposure to CNIs. Nowadays, the use of immunosuppressive drugs with different mechanisms of action, which allow for a reduction or avoidance of CNIs, is common. Everolimus, which belongs to the mammalian target-of-rapamycin inhibitor family and is best known for its use in kidney and heart transplantation, has recently been approved for liver transplantation. This overview discusses the emerging evidence on the role of everolimus in the prevention of rejection after liver transplantation, in de novo transplants, conversion regimens, or as a rescue therapy. In addition, some of the most relevant and current clinical problems related to everolimus in this field are discussed.
Keywords: everolimus, mTOR inhibitors, tacrolimus, liver transplant, cyclosporine, renal impairment
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