A closer look at rituximab induction on HLA antibody rebound following HLA-incompatible kidney transplantation.
Rituximab has been used to increase the efficacy of desensitization protocols for human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-incompatible kidney transplantation; however, controlled comparisons have not been reported. Here we examined 256 post-transplant HLA antibody levels in 25 recipients desensitized with and 25 without rituximab induction, to determine the impact of B-cell depletion. We found significantly less HLA antibody rebound in the rituximab-treated patients (7% of donor-specific antibodies (DSAs) and 33% of non-DSAs) compared with a control cohort desensitized and transplanted without rituximab (32% DSAs and 55% non-DSAs). The magnitude of the increase was significantly larger among patients who did not receive rituximab. Interestingly, in rituximab-treated patients, of the 39 HLA antibodies that increased post transplant, 34 were specific for HLA mismatches present in previous allografts or pregnancies, implying limited efficacy in memory B-cell depletion. Compared with controls, rituximab-treated patients had a significantly greater mean reduction in DSA (-2505 vs. -292 mean fluorescence intensity), but a similar rate of DSA persistence (52% in rituximab treated-and 40% in non-treated recipients). Thus, rituximab induction in HLA-incompatible recipients reduced the incidence and magnitude of HLA antibody rebound, but did not affect DSA elimination, antibody-mediated rejection, or 5-year allograft survival when compared with recipients desensitized and transplanted without rituximab.
Jackson, AM; Kraus, ES; Orandi, BJ; Segev, DL; Montgomery, RA; Zachary, AA
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