Therapeutic Drug Monitoring of Tacrolimus-Personalized Therapy: Second Consensus Report

Mercè Brunet, Teun Van Gelder, Anders Åsberg, Vincent Haufroid, Dennis A. Hesselink, Loralie Langman, Florian Lemaitre, Pierre Marquet, Christoph Seger, Maria Shipkova, Alexander Vinks, Pierre Wallemacq, Eberhard Wieland, Jean Baptiste Woillard, Markus J. Barten, Klemens Budde, Helena Colom, Maja Theresa Dieterlen, Laure Elens, Kamisha L. Johnson-DavisPaweł K. Kunicki, Iain Macphee, Satohiro Masuda, Binu S. Mathew, Olga Millán, Tomoyuki Mizuno, Dirk Jan A.R. Moes, Caroline Monchaud, Ofelia Noceti, Tomasz Pawinski, Nicolas Picard, Ron Van Schaik, Claudia Sommerer, Nils Tore Vethe, Brenda De Winter, Uwe Christians, Stein Bergan

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342 Citations (Scopus)


Ten years ago, a consensus report on the optimization of tacrolimus was published in this journal. In 2017, the Immunosuppressive Drugs Scientific Committee of the International Association of Therapeutic Drug Monitoring and Clinical Toxicity (IATDMCT) decided to issue an updated consensus report considering the most relevant advances in tacrolimus pharmacokinetics (PK), pharmacogenetics (PG), pharmacodynamics, and immunologic biomarkers, with the aim to provide analytical and drug-exposure recommendations to assist TDM professionals and clinicians to individualize tacrolimus TDM and treatment. The consensus is based on in-depth literature searches regarding each topic that is addressed in this document. Thirty-seven international experts in the field of TDM of tacrolimus as well as its PG and biomarkers contributed to the drafting of sections most relevant for their expertise. Whenever applicable, the quality of evidence and the strength of recommendations were graded according to a published grading guide. After iterated editing, the final version of the complete document was approved by all authors. For each category of solid organ and stem cell transplantation, the current state of PK monitoring is discussed and the specific targets of tacrolimus trough concentrations (predose sample C0) are presented for subgroups of patients along with the grading of these recommendations. In addition, tacrolimus area under the concentration-time curve determination is proposed as the best TDM option early after transplantation, at the time of immunosuppression minimization, for special populations, and specific clinical situations. For indications other than transplantation, the potentially effective tacrolimus concentrations in systemic treatment are discussed without formal grading. The importance of consistency, calibration, proficiency testing, and the requirement for standardization and need for traceability and reference materials is highlighted. The status for alternative approaches for tacrolimus TDM is presented including dried blood spots, volumetric absorptive microsampling, and the development of intracellular measurements of tacrolimus. The association between CYP3A5 genotype and tacrolimus dose requirement is consistent (Grading A I). So far, pharmacodynamic and immunologic biomarkers have not entered routine monitoring, but determination of residual nuclear factor of activated T cells-regulated gene expression supports the identification of renal transplant recipients at risk of rejection, infections, and malignancy (B II). In addition, monitoring intracellular T-cell IFN-g production can help to identify kidney and liver transplant recipients at high risk of acute rejection (B II) and select good candidates for immunosuppression minimization (B II). Although cell-free DNA seems a promising biomarker of acute donor injury and to assess the minimally effective C0 of tacrolimus, multicenter prospective interventional studies are required to better evaluate its clinical utility in solid organ transplantation. Population PK models including CYP3A5 and CYP3A4 genotypes will be considered to guide initial tacrolimus dosing. Future studies should investigate the clinical benefit of time-to-event models to better evaluate biomarkers as predictive of personal response, the risk of rejection, and graft outcome. The Expert Committee concludes that considerable advances in the different fields of tacrolimus monitoring have been achieved during this last decade. Continued efforts should focus on the opportunities to implement in clinical routine the combination of new standardized PK approaches with PG, and valid biomarkers to further personalize tacrolimus therapy and to improve long-term outcomes for treated patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-307
Number of pages47
JournalTherapeutic drug monitoring
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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