Publications by authors named "Francesco Peraro"

7 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Mycophenolate mofetil versus azathioprine in kidney transplant recipients on steroid-free, low-dose cyclosporine immunosuppression (ATHENA): A pragmatic randomized trial.

PLoS Med 2021 06 24;18(6):e1003668. Epub 2021 Jun 24.

Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri IRCCS, Bergamo, Italy.

Background: We compared protection of mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) and azathioprine (AZA) against acute cellular rejection (ACR) and chronic allograft nephropathy (CAN) in kidney transplant recipients on steroid-free, low-dose cyclosporine (CsA) microemulsion maintenance immunosuppression.

Methods And Findings: ATHENA, a pragmatic, prospective, multicenter trial conducted by 6 Italian transplant centers, compared the outcomes of 233 consenting recipients of a first deceased donor kidney transplant induced with low-dose thymoglobulin and basiliximab and randomized to MMF (750 mg twice/day, n = 119) or AZA (75 to 125 mg/day, n = 114) added-on maintenance low-dose CsA microemulsion and 1-week steroid. In patients without acute clinical or subclinical rejections, CsA dose was progressively halved. Primary endpoint was biopsy-proven CAN. Analysis was by intention to treat. Participants were included between June 2007 and July 2012 and followed up to August 2016. Between-group donor and recipient characteristics, donor/recipient mismatches, and follow-up CsA blood levels were similar. During a median (interquartile range (IQR)) follow-up of 47.7 (44.2 to 48.9) months, 29 of 87 biopsied patients on MMF (33.3%) versus 31 of 88 on AZA (35.2%) developed CAN (hazard ratio (HR) [95% confidence interval (CI)]: 1.147 (0.691 to 1.904, p = 0.595). Twenty and 21 patients on MMF versus 34 and 14 on AZA had clinical [HR (95% CI): 0.58 (0.34 to 1.02); p = 0.057) or biopsy-proven subclinical [HR (95% CI): 1.49 (0.76 to 2.92); p = 0.249] ACR, respectively. Combined events [HR (95% CI): 0.85 (0.56 to 1.29); p = 0.438], patient and graft survival, delayed graft function (DGF), 3-year glomerular filtration rate (GFR) [53.8 (40.6;65.7) versus 49.8 (36.8;62.5) mL/min/1.73 m2, p = 0.50], and adverse events (AEs) were not significantly different between groups. Chronicity scores other than CAN predict long-term graft outcome. Study limitations include small sample size and unblinded design.

Conclusions: In this study, we found that in deceased donor kidney transplant recipients on low-dose CsA and no steroids, MMF had no significant benefits over AZA. This finding suggests that AZA, due to its lower costs, could safely replace MMF in combination with minimized immunosuppression.

Trial Registration: NCT00494741; EUDRACT 2006-005604-14.
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June 2021

Preimplantation Histological Score Associates with 6-Month GFR in Recipients of Perfused, Older Kidney Grafts: Results from a Pilot Study.

Nephron 2021 22;145(2):137-149. Epub 2021 Jan 22.

Department of Renal Medicine, Clinical Research Centre for Rare Diseases "Aldo e Cele Daccò": Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri IRCCS, Bergamo, Italy.

Background: Biopsy-guided selection of older kidneys safely expands the organ pool, and pretransplant perfusion improves the preservation of these fragile organs. Herein, we studied morphofunctional variables associated with graft outcomes in perfused, histologically evaluated older kidneys.

Methods: This single-center prospective cohort pilot study evaluated the relationships between preimplantation histologic scores and renal perfusion parameters during hypothermic, pulsatile, machine perfusion (MP) and assessed whether these morphofunctional parameters associated with GFR (iohexol plasma clearance) at 6 months after transplantation in 20 consecutive consenting recipients of a biopsy-guided single or dual kidney transplant from >60-year-old deceased donors.

Results: The donor and recipient age was 70.4 ± 6.5 and 63.6 ± 7.9 years (p = 0.005), respectively. The kidney donor profile index (KDPI) was 93.3 ± 8.4% (>80% in 19 cases), histologic score 4.4 ± 1.4, and median (IQR) cold ischemia time 19.8 (17.8-22.8 h; >24 h in 5 cases). The 6-month GFR was 41.2 (34.9-55.7) mL/min. Vascular resistances positively correlated with global histologic score (p = 0.018) at MP start and then decreased from 0.88 ± 0.43 to 0.36 ± 0.13 mm Hg/mL/min (p < 0.001) in parallel with a three-fold renal flow increase from 24.0 ± 14.7 to 74.7 ± 31.8 mL/min (p < 0.001). Consistently, vascular resistance reductions positively correlated with global histologic score (p = 0.009, r = -0.429). Unlike KDPI or vascular resistances, histologic score was independently associated with 6-month GFR (beta standardized coefficient: -0.894, p = 0.005).

Conclusions: MP safely improves graft perfusion, particularly in kidneys with severe histologic changes that would not be considered for transplantation because of high KDPI. The preimplantation histologic score associates with the functional recovery of older kidneys even in the context of a standardized program of pulsatile perfusion.
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January 2021

Effects of Sevelamer Carbonate in Patients With CKD and Proteinuria: The ANSWER Randomized Trial.

Am J Kidney Dis 2019 09 23;74(3):338-350. Epub 2019 Apr 23.

Division of Nephrology, University of Utah Health Sciences Center, Salt Lake City, UT.

Rationale & Objective: Hyperphosphatemia is associated with increased risk for chronic kidney disease (CKD) progression and reduced antiproteinuric effects of renin-angiotensin system (RAS) blockers. We investigated whether the phosphate binder sevelamer carbonate may enhance the antiproteinuric effect of RAS inhibitors in patients with CKD.

Study Design: Phase 2, randomized, controlled, open-label, crossover trial.

Setting & Participants: Between November 2013 and December 2014, we enrolled 53 patients with CKD with estimated glomerular filtration rates (eGFRs)>15mL/min/1.73m and residual proteinuria with protein excretion≥0.5g/24h despite maximal tolerated ramipril and/or irbesartan therapy from 2 nephrology units in Italy.

Intervention: After stratification by serum phosphate level, ≤4 or>4mg/dL, patients were randomly assigned to 3 months of sevelamer (1,600mg thrice daily) treatment followed by 3 months without sevelamer separated by a 1-month washout period or 3 months without sevelamer followed by 3 months with sevelamer, also separated by a 1-month washout period.

Outcomes: The primary outcome was 24-hour proteinuria (n=49patients). Secondary outcomes included measured GFR (using iohexol plasma clearance), office blood pressure (BP), serum lipid levels, levels of inflammation and bone metabolism biomarkers, urinary electrolyte levels, and arterial stiffness.

Results: Changes in proteinuria during the 3-month treatment with (from 1.36 [IQR, 0.77-2.51] to 1.36 [IQR, 0.77-2.60] g/24h) or without (from 1.36 [IQR, 0.99-2.38] to 1.48 [IQR, 0.81-2.77] g/24h) sevelamer were similar (P=0.1). Sevelamer reduced urinary phosphate excretion without affecting serum phosphate levels. Sevelamer reduced C-reactive protein (CRP), glycated hemoglobin, and total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels and increased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels without affecting levels of office BP, measured GFR, fibroblast growth factor 23, klotho, intact parathyroid hormone, serum vitamin D, or other urinary electrolytes. Results were similar in the low- and high-phosphate groups. Sevelamer was well tolerated. Adverse events were comparable between treatment periods. One case of transient hypophosphatemia was observed during treatment with sevelamer.

Limitations: Short treatment duration, lower pretreatment proteinuria than expected.

Conclusions: 3-month sevelamer treatment did not reduce proteinuria in patients with CKD on maximal RAS blockade. Amelioration of inflammation and dyslipidemia with sevelamer treatment raises the possibility that it may confer benefit in patients with CKD beyond reduction of proteinuria.

Funding: Sanofi (Milan, Italy).

Trial Registration: Registered at with study number NCT01968759.
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September 2019

C5 Convertase Blockade in Membranoproliferative Glomerulonephritis: A Single-Arm Clinical Trial.

Am J Kidney Dis 2019 08 28;74(2):224-238. Epub 2019 Mar 28.

Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri IRCCS, Bergamo, Italy; L. Sacco Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, University of Milan, Milan, Italy. Electronic address:

Rationale & Objective: Primary membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis (MPGN) is a rare glomerulopathy characterized by complement dysregulation. MPGN progresses rapidly to kidney failure when it is associated with nephrotic syndrome. We assessed the effects of C5 convertase blockade in patients with MPGN and terminal complement activation.

Study Design: Prospective off-on-off-on open-label clinical trial.

Setting & Participants: Consenting patients with immune complex-mediated MPGN (n=6) or C3 glomerulonephritis (n=4) with sC5b-9 (serum complement membrane attack complex) plasma levels>1,000ng/mL and 24-hour proteinuria with protein excretion>3.5g identified from the Italian Registry of MPGN and followed up at the Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri IRCCS (Bergamo, Italy) between March 4, 2014, and January 7, 2015.

Intervention: Anti-C5 monoclonal antibody eculizumab administered during 2 sequential 48-week treatment periods separated by one 12-week washout period.

Outcomes: Primary outcome was change in 24-hour proteinuria (median of 3 consecutive measurements) at 24 and 48 weeks.

Results: Median proteinuria decreased from protein excretion of 6.03 (interquartile range [IQR], 4.8-12.4) g/d at baseline to 3.74 (IQR, 3.2-4.4) g/d at 24 weeks (P=0.01) and to 5.06 (IQR, 3.1-5.8) g/d (P=0.006) at 48 weeks of treatment, recovered toward baseline during the washout period, and did not significantly decrease thereafter. Hypoalbuminemia, dyslipidemia, and glomerular sieving function improved during the first treatment period. 3 patients achieved partial remission of nephrotic syndrome and all had undetectable C3 nephritic factors before treatment. Mean measured glomerular filtration rate was 69.7±35.2 versus 87.4±55.1 and 75.8±42.7 versus 76.6±44.1mL/min/1.73m at the start versus the end of the first and second treatment periods, respectively, among all 10 study participants. Unlike C3, sC5b-9 plasma levels normalized during both treatment periods and recovered toward baseline during the washout in all patients.

Limitations: Single-arm design, small sample size.

Conclusions: Eculizumab blunted terminal complement activation in all patients with immune complex-mediated MPGN or C3 glomerulonephritis and nephrotic syndrome, but persistently reduced proteinuria in just a subgroup.

Trial Registration: Registered in the EU Clinical Trials Register with study no. 2013-003826-10.
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August 2019

Effects of valsartan, benazepril and their combination in overt nephropathy of type 2 diabetes: A prospective, randomized, controlled trial.

Diabetes Obes Metab 2019 05 22;21(5):1177-1190. Epub 2019 Feb 22.

Department of Renal Medicine, Clinical Research Centre for Rare Diseases "Aldo e Cele Daccò": Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri IRCCS, Ranica (Bergamo), Italy.

Aims: To evaluate whether angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor and angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB) combination therapy is more nephroprotective than ACE inhibitor or ARB monotherapy in people with type 2 diabetes and overt nephropathy.

Materials And Methods: In this prospective, randomized, open, blind-endpoint phase III trial sponsored by the Italian Drug Agency, 103 consenting patients with type 2 diabetes, aged >40 years, with serum creatinine levels 159 to 309 μmol/L, spot morning urinary albumin-creatinine ratio > 1000 mg/g (or > 500 mg/g in those on ACE inhibitor or ARB therapy at inclusion) were stratified by centre and randomized to 4.5-year treatment with valsartan 320 mg/d (n = 36), benazepril 20 mg/d (n = 34) or halved doses of both medications (n = 33). The primary endpoint was end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Modified intention-to-treat analyses were performed.

Results: Recruitment took place between June 2007 and February 2013 at 10 centres in Italy and one in Slovenia. A total of 77 participants completed the study and 26 were prematurely withdrawn. During a median (interquartile range) of 41 (18-54) months, 12 participants on benazepril (35.3%) and nine on combination therapy (27.3%) progressed to ESRD, versus five on valsartan (13.9%). Differences between benazepril (hazard ratio [HR] 3.59, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.25-10.30; P = 0.018) or combination therapy (HR 3.28, 95% CI 1.07-10.0; P = 0.038) and valsartan were significant, even after adjustment for age, gender and baseline serum creatinine, systolic blood pressure and 24-hour proteinuria (HR 5.16, 95% CI 1.50-17.75, P = 0.009 and HR 4.75, 95% CI 1.01-22.39, P = 0.049, respectively). Adverse events were distributed similarly among the groups.

Conclusions: In people with type 2 diabetes with nephropathy, valsartan (320 mg/d) safely postponed ESRD more effectively than benazepril (20 mg/d) or than halved doses of both medications.
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May 2019

Blood Pressure and Metabolic Effects of Acetyl-l-Carnitine in Type 2 Diabetes: DIABASI Randomized Controlled Trial.

J Endocr Soc 2018 May 22;2(5):420-436. Epub 2018 Mar 22.

Department of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama.

Context: Acetyl-l-carnitine (ALC), a mitochondrial carrier involved in lipid oxidation and glucose metabolism, decreased systolic blood pressure (SBP), and ameliorated insulin sensitivity in hypertensive nondiabetic subjects at high cardiovascular risk.

Objective: To assess the effects of ALC on SBP and glycemic and lipid control in patients with hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D), and dyslipidemia on background statin therapy.

Design: After 4-week run-in period and stratification according to previous statin therapy, patients were randomized to 6-month, double-blind treatment with ALC or placebo added-on simvastatin.

Setting: Five diabetology units and one clinical research center in Italy.

Patients: Two hundred twenty-nine patients with hypertension and dyslipidemic T2D >40 years with stable background antihypertensive, hypoglycemic, and statin therapy and serum creatinine <1.5 mg/dL.

Interventions: Oral ALC 1000 mg or placebo twice daily on top of stable simvastatin therapy.

Outcome And Measures: Primary outcome was SBP. Secondary outcomes included lipid and glycemic profiles. Total-body glucose disposal rate and glomerular filtration rate were measured in subgroups by hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp and iohexol plasma clearance, respectively.

Results: SBP did not significantly change after 6-month treatment with ALC compared with placebo (-2.09 mm Hg -3.57 mm Hg, = 0.9539). Serum cholesterol, triglycerides, and lipoprotein(a), as well as blood glucose, glycated hemoglobin, fasting insulin levels, homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance index, glucose disposal rate, and glomerular filtration rate did not significantly differ between treatments. Adverse events were comparable between groups.

Conclusions: Six-month oral ALC supplementation did not affect blood pressure, lipid and glycemic control, insulin sensitivity and kidney function in hypertensive normoalbuminuric and microalbuminuric T2D patients on background statin therapy.
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May 2018

Moderate salt restriction with or without paricalcitol in type 2 diabetes and losartan-resistant macroalbuminuria (PROCEED): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial.

Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol 2018 01 2;6(1):27-40. Epub 2017 Nov 2.

Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico-Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri, Centro Anna Maria Astori, Science and Technology Park Kilometro Rosso, Bergamo, Italy; Department of Medicine, Unit of Nephrology and Dialysis, Azienda Socio-Sanitaria Territoriale Papa Giovanni XXIII, Bergamo, Italy.

Background: Macroalbuminuria predicts renal and cardiovascular events in patients with type 2 diabetes. We aimed to assess the albuminuria-lowering effects of salt restriction, paricalcitol therapy, or both, in this population.

Methods: In this randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial, we recruited adult patients with type 2 diabetes from six diabetology outpatient clinics in northern Italy, with 24 h albuminuria of more than 300 mg despite 100 mg per day losartan therapy, blood pressure of less than 140/90 mm Hg, serum creatinine concentration of less than 2 mg/dL, stable renal function on stable renin-angiotensin system inhibitor therapy with a fixed dose of losartan, parathyroid hormone concentration of 20 pg/mL to <110 pg/mL, serum calcium concentration of less than 9·5 mg/dL, and serum phosphate concentration of less than 5 mg/dL, who had been more than 80% compliant with placebo treatment during a 1 month placebo run-in. We allocated patients 1:1 with computer-generated randomisation to an open-label 3 month high-sodium (>200 mEq [4·8 g] per day) or low-sodium (<100 mEq [2·4 g] per day) diet and, within each diet group, to a 1 month double-blind treatment period of oral paricalcitol (2 μg per day) or placebo, followed by 1 month of placebo washout and then a further 1 month double-blind treatment period of paricalcitol or placebo in which patients crossed over to the opposite treatment period. The primary outcome was 24 h albuminuria (median of three consecutive measurements). Analyses were modified intention-to-treat (including all randomly allocated patients who took at least one dose of study drug and had an efficacy measurement after the first treatment period). Patients and investigators were masked to paricalcitol and placebo assignment. Those assessing outcomes were masked to both study drug and diet assignment. This study is registered with, number NCT01393808, and the European Union Clinical Trials Register, number 2011-001713-14.

Findings: Between Dec 13, 2011, and Feb 17, 2015, we randomly allocated 57 (50%) patients to a low-sodium diet (28 [49%] to paricalcitol then placebo and 29 [51%] to placebo then paricalcitol) and 58 (50%) to a high-sodium diet (29 [50%] to paricalcitol then placebo and 29 [50%] to placebo then paricalcitol). In the low-sodium group (30 mEq of daily sodium intake reduction, equivalent to approximately 1·7-1·8 g per day), 24 h albuminuria was reduced by 36·6% (95% CI 28·5-44·9) from 724 mg (441-1233) at baseline to 481 mg (289-837) at month 3 (p<0·0001), but no significant change occurred in the high-sodium group (from 730 mg [416-1227] to 801 mg [441-1365]; 2·9% [-16·8 to 16·4] increase; p=0·50). Changes between diet groups differed by 32·4% (17·2-48·8; p<0·0001) and correlated with changes in natriuresis (r=0·43; p<0·0001). On the high-sodium diet, paricalcitol reduced the salt-induced albuminuria increase by 17·8% (3·9-32·3) over the month of treatment compared with placebo (p=0·02), whereas on the low-sodium diet, paricalcitol did not have a significant effect versus placebo (increase of 4·1% [-9·3 to 21·6]; p=0·59). During placebo treatment, albuminuria decreased with the low-sodium diet (p=0·0002) and did not significantly change with the high-sodium diet, but changes were significantly different between diet groups (p=0·0004). Treatment was well tolerated and no patients withdrew from the study because of treatment-related effects. 67 adverse events occurred in 52 (45%) patients during paricalcitol treatment and 44 events occurred in 36 (31%) patients during placebo treatment. During paricalcitol therapy, 14 cases of hypercalciuria, six cases of hypercalcaemia, and five cases of hyperphosphataemia were reported in one patient each, all of which were possibly treatment related. One case of hypercalciuria was reported in one patient during the placebo treatment period. One stroke and one coronary event occurred during paricalcitol therapy. No patients died during the study.

Interpretation: In patients with macroalbuminuria and type 2 diabetes, moderate salt restriction enhances the antialbuminuric effect of losartan, an effect that could be nephroprotective and cardioprotective in the long term. The finding that paricalcitol prevents a sodium-induced increase in albuminuria provides support for trials to test the long-term risk-benefit profile of paricalcitol add-on therapy in patients with type 2 diabetes and macroalbuminuria refractory to dietary salt restriction, including patients refractory to even moderate salt restriction.

Funding: AbbVie.
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January 2018