Background: The aim of this study was to compare the effectiveness of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) versus monoclonal anti-CD3 as a treatment for steroid-resistant rejections. From January 1995 to June 1997, 30 patients were analyzed. They were randomized into two groups. Resistant rejections were diagnosed by core biopsy. Group A received 500 mg/ kg/day IVIg (Sandoglobulin) for 7 consecutive days, whereas group B received 5 mg/day of OKT3 for 14 consecutive days. Daily T cell CD3+ peripheral count was performed for 14 days for group B. The immunosuppression was similar for both groups. Cyclosporine was stopped during both treatments.
Methods: Demographic factors, HLA mismatch, creatinine levels before and after treatment, and the incidence of rejections after treatment (up to 1 month) were taken into account for this study.
Results: Data from different samples were compared using Fisher's exact test. Graft and patient survival were analyzed using the Kaplan-Meier method. The were no significant differences found in age, graft origin, HLA mismatch, or time of follow-up until the episode of rejection. Success was achieved for 11 (73.3%) of 15 of group A and 13 (86.6%) of 15 of group B (P=0.79). Creatinine levels before and after treatment were as follows: A, 2.99+/-1.30 mg/dl and 2.1+/-0.70 mg/dl versus B, 3.1+/-1.1 mg/dl and 2.5+/-0.8 mg/dl. Besides, we did not observe differences in the creatinine 1 month after treatment (A: 2.35+/-0.78 mg/dl; B: 2.51+/-1.10 mg/dl; P=0.66) nor in the third month (A: 1.83+/-0.58 mg/dl; B: 2.30+/-0.89 mg/dl; P=0.24). The incidence of rejections after treatment was 5 (46%) of 11 for group A and 9 (75%) of 12 for group B (P=0.4). The patient survival rates 2 years after treatment were 87 and 92% for A and B groups, respectively. Graft survival was identical (80% in both groups).
Conclusion: Should the favorable result presented in this report be confirmed in larger number of patients, IVIg could become the preferable choice of rejection treatment for steroid-resistant rejection because of a complete absence of the unwanted side effects commonly associated with OKT3.