INTRODUCTION Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) is a well-known profibrotic factor playing a role in chronic kidney allograft nephropathy. Cyclosporine (CsA)-sparing immunosuppressive regimens may improve long-term graft function. Our aim was to study the influence of immunosuppressive treatment with versus without calcineurin inhibitors on serum TGF-beta levels and histological changes in protocol biopsies of kidney allograft recipients. PATIENTS AND METHODS In this prospective, randomized study of 42 low-rejection risk patients we randomized two groups: group A: mycophenolate mofetil (MMF), prednisone, daclizumab, and reduced CsA dose for 7 months (5 mg per kg per day) followed by complete withdrawal (n = 21); and group B: normal CsA dose (10 mg per kg per day adjusted according to C2 levels), MMF, prednisone, and no daclizumab (n = 21). METHODS In both groups we performed histological assessments (Banff 97) and measured serum TFG-beta levels before as well as, at 3 and 12 months after transplantation. RESULTS We found a relationship between immunosuppressive regimen and the TGF-beta concentration over 1 year of observation. Before transplant the TGF-beta1 levels did not differ between the groups (P = .29); at 3 months they were 33 +/- 9 vs 49 +/- 15 pg per mL, respectively, in groups A and B (P = .08), and at 12 months they were 39.5 +/- 4 versus 55.5 +/- 11 pg per mL, respectively, in groups A and B (P = .03). Protocol biopsies at 12 months in group B showed chronic tubular lesions more pronounced than in group A. TGF-beta1 concentrations were significantly higher among group B than A. We conclude that TGF-beta1 concentration may predict the development of kidney graft fibrosis; early CsA withdrawal may achieve a reduction in chronic tubular and interstitial injury of cadaveric kidney allografts.