Author(s): Di Benedetto F, Di Sandro S, De Ruvo N, Montalti R, Ballarin R,
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Abstract INTRODUCTION: Some experimental trials have demonstrated that rapamycin (RAPA) is able to inhibit HIV-1 progression in three different ways: (1) reducing CCR5-gene transcription, (2) blocking interleukin-2 intracellular secondary messenger (mammalian target of rapamycin), and (3) up-regulating the beta-chemokine macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP; MIP-1alpha and MIP-1beta). We present the preliminary results of a prospective nonrandomized trial concerning the first HIV patient series receiving RAPA monotherapy after liver transplantation (LT). METHODS: Since June 2003, 14 HIV patients have received cadaveric donor LT due to end-stage liver disease (ESLD) associated or not associated with hepatocellular carcinoma, scored by the model for ESLD system. Patients were assessed using the following criteria for HIV characterization: CD4 T-cell count more than 100/mL and HIV-RNA levels less than 50 copies/mL. Primary immunosuppression was based on calcineurin inhibitors (CI), whereas switch to RAPA monotherapy occurred in cases of CI complications or Kaposi's sarcoma. RESULTS: Mean overall post-LT follow-up was 14.8 months (range: 0.5-52.6). Six of 14 patients were administered RAPA monotherapy. Mean preswitch period from CI to RAPA was 67 days (range: 10-225 days). Mean postswitch follow-up was 11.9 months (range: 2-31 months). All patients were affected by ESLD, which was associated with hepatocellular carcinoma in seven patients. ESLD occurred due to hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related hepatopathy for nine patients, hepatitis B virus-related hepatopathy for one patient, and hepatitis B virus-HCV hepatopathy for four patients. Significantly better control of HIV and HCV replication was found among patients taking RAPA monotherapy (P=0.0001 and 0.03, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: After in vitro and in vivo experimental evidence of RAPA antiviral proprieties, to our knowledge, this is the first clinical report of several significant benefits in long-term immunosuppression maintenance and HIV-1 control among HIV positive patients who underwent LT.
This article was published in Transplantation
and referenced in Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals