Basiliximab is a chimeric mouse-human monoclonal antibody directed against the alpha chain of the interleukin-2 (IL-2) receptor on activated T lymphocytes. It was shown in phase III trials to reduce the number and severity of acute rejection episodes in the first year following renal transplantation in adults and children, with a reasonable cost-benefit ratio. The drug does not increase the incidence of opportunistic infections or malignancies above baseline in patients treated with conventional calcineurin inhibitor-based immunosuppression. In the field of renal transplantation, basiliximab does not increase kidney or patient survival, despite the reduction in the number of rejection episodes. Basiliximab may reduce the incidence of delayed graft function. In comparison with lymphocyte-depleting antibodies basiliximab appears to have equal efficacy in standard immunological risk patients. Recently, IL-2 receptor monoclonal antibodies have been used with the objective of reducing or eliminating the more toxic elements of the standard immunosuppression protocol. Several trials have incorporated basiliximab in protocols designed to avoid or withdraw rapidly corticosteroids, as well as protocols which substitute target-of-rapamycin (TOR) inhibitors for calcineurin inhibitors.