Exploratory Analysis for the Evaluation of Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate, Cholesterol and Triglycerides after Switching from Tenofovir/Emtricitabine plus Atazanavir/Ritonavir (ATV/r) to Abacavir/Lamivudine plus ATV/r in Patients with Preserved Renal Function

Maria Concetta Postorino1, *, Eugenia Quiros-Roldan2, Franco Maggiolo3, Simona Di Giambenedetto4, Nicoletta Ladisa5, Giuseppe Lapadula6, Silvia Lorenzotti7, Laura Sighinolfi8, Filippo Castelnuovo9, Massimo Di Pietro10, Daria Gotti2, Nicola Mazzini11, Carlo Torti1, The MASTER Study Group
1 Unit of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, University “Magna Graecia” Catanzaro, Italy
2 Infectious and Tropical Diseases Institute, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy
3 “Papa Giovanni XXIII” Hospital, Bergamo, Italy
4 Catholic University of Sacred Heart, Rome, Italy
5 Policlinico di Bari, Bari, Italy
6 “San Gerardo” Hospital, Monza, Italy
7 “Istituti Ospitalieri”, Cremona, Italy
8 “Cona” Hospital, Ferrara, Italy
9 “Spedali Civili”, Brescia, Italy
10 “Santa Maria Annunziata” Hospital, Florence, Italy
11 MISI Foundation, Brescia, Italy

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© Postorino et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International Public License (CC BY-NC 4.0) (, which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Unit of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, University “Magna Graecia” Catanzaro Campus Universitario “Salvatore Venuta”, viale Europa, Catanzaro, Italy, 88100; Tel: +39 0961 3647203; Fax:+39 0961 3647544; E-mail:


Background and Objectives:

Renal toxicity due to tenofovir (TDF) has been largely described in patients with HIV infection. However, other antiretroviral drugs (such as atazanavir [ATV], especially when boosted by ritonavir, ATV/r) could perpetuate some degrees of renal impairment with or without TDF co-administration. Also, possible benefits of stopping TDF in patients without renal diseases is not well known. This study aimed at exploring evolution of renal function and lipid profile after switching from tenofovir/emtricitabine (TDF/FTC) to abacavir/lamivudine (ABC/3TC), maintaining the ATV/r component of the regimen.


Patients in the Italian MASTER Cohort, who switched from TDF/FTC plus ATV/r to ABC/3TC plus ATV/r were included, provided that major renal diseases were not diagnosed before switching (i.e., baseline). Serum creatinine, estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), total cholesterol, HDL and triglycerides were evaluated at baseline and at month 18 after switching.


126 patients were selected (80% males). Patients were mostly Italians (92%). 79% had undetectable HIV-RNA and 44% were co-infected by HBV and/or HCV. Median age at switch was 47 years (IQR 43-55). A small but significant decrease in serum creatinine [from 1.06 mg/dl (SD: 0.3) to 0.94 mg/dl (SD: 0.2); p<0.001] with an improvement in eGFR [from 86.8 ml/min (SD: 33) to 96.4 ml/min (SD: 37); p<0.001] were observed in per protocol analysis at month 18. Also ITT analysis showed a decrease in mean serum creatinine [from 1.08 mg/dl (SD: 0.35) to 0.95 mg/dl (SD: 0.24); p<0.001] with an improvement in mean eGFR [from 86.9 ml/min/1.73m2 (SD: 24.11) to 95.8 ml/min/1.73m2 (SD: 19.99); p<0.001]. Total cholesterol increased [from 188 mg/dl (SD: 42) to 206 mg/dl (SD: 44); p<0.001] but also HDL increased as well [from 46 mg/dl (SD: 14) to 54 mg/dl (SD: 19); p=0.015]. An increase in triglycerides concentration was observed [from 162 mg/dl (SD: 144) to 214 mg/dl (SD: 109); p=0.027] in per protocol analysis. Also ITT analysis showed increases of both total cholesterol [from 187 mg/dl (SD: 43.69) to 203 mg/dl (SD: 44.10); p<0.001] and HDL fraction [from 46 mg/dl (SD: 15.49) to 52 mg/dl (SD: 17.13); p=0.002] at month 18.


This analysis reports an improvement in eGFR and an increase in total cholesterol and HDL fraction at month 18 after switching to ABC/3TC plus ATV/r. Given the fact that renal function was not significantly affected at baseline, our findings may suggest the utility of a proactive switch from TDF to ABC, when otherwise indicated, in patients who cannot avoid using a nucleoside backbone.

Keywords: Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy, eGFR, Cholesterol, Nephrotoxicity, Tenofovir, Atazanavir.