We randomized 158 recipients of cadaver renal allografts to cyclosporine-prednisone (83) or antilymphocyte globulin-azathioprine-prednisone (75) to evaluate: (1) the effects of immunosuppression and pretransplant risk factors on the incidence of delayed graft function, (2) the effects of immunosuppression on the resolution of delayed graft function, and (3) the effects of delayed graft function and pretransplanted risk factors on patient and graft survival. Cyclosporine did not increase the incidence of delayed graft function, compared with ALG-azathioprine-treated patients (33% versus 27%, P = 0.550) but doubled the mean (±SD) duration of oliguria (11.8 ± 11.0 versus 5.9 ± 3.2 days, P = 0.002) and the number of required dialyses (6.6 ± 7.6 versus 3.2 ± 1.3, P = 0.031). Retransplanted patients had a higher incidence of delayed graft function that recipients of primary grafts in both the cyclosporine (82% versus 25%, P = 0.001) and ALG-azathioprine (55% versus 22%, P = 0.025) treatment groups. The presence of delayed function reduced one-hear graft survival from 89% in all patients without delayed function to 72% (P = 0.011) in all patients with delayed function. Cyclosporine-treated patients had a slightly, but not significantly better one-year graft survival rate than ALG-azathioprine treated patients both with (73% versus 68%, P = 0.750) and without (92% versus 82%, P = 0.069) delayed graft function. A preservation time longer than 24 hr did not increase the incidence of delayed graft function in cyclosporine-treated patients (34% versus 32%, P = 0.811) or ALG-azathioprine-treated patients (27% versus 27%, P = 0.902). Cyclosporine-treated patients given kidneys with greater than 24 hr of preservation time had reduced graft survival only when delayed graft function occurred (67% versus 92%, P = 0.009). In conclusion, (1) cyclosporine did not increase the incidence of delayed graft function over ALG-azathioprine treatment; (2) cyclosporine did significantly slow recovery of kidneys with delayed function; (3) delayed graft function correlated with poorer graft survival rate in both treatment groups; but (4) prolonged preservation time did not increase the incidence of delayed graft function or reduce graft survival.