Background: Kidney transplant recipients with a current positive complement-dependent cytotoxicity crossmatch (CDCXM) are at high risk for hyperacute rejection and graft loss. Immunoadsorption (IA) represents an efficient strategy to remove donor-specific alloantibodies. In this analysis, we evaluated effectiveness of peritransplant IA as an anti-humoral strategy to overcome a current positive CDCXM in presensitized renal allograft recipients.
Methods: Between 1999 and 2003, 40 high risk cadaveric kidney allograft recipients (median CDC panel reactive antibody [PRA] level, 77%; number of retransplants, n = 38) were subjected to peritransplant IA with protein A (one pretransplant IA session followed by a course of repeat posttransplant IA sessions) in addition to preemptive antilymphocyte antibody therapy.
Results: In nine of these patients, a current positive CDCXM was rendered negative by a single pretransplant IA session. Thirty-one recipients had a negative CDCXM already before pretransplant IA. No difference in graft survival was found between CDCXM-positive and CDCXM-negative recipients (3-year graft survival, 78% vs. 71%, P = 0.6). Comparable rates of immunological graft loss at 3 years were observed (11% vs. 13%, P = 0.8). Patient groups did not significantly differ with respect to median serum creatinine at 1 year (1.23 mg/dL [CDCXM-positive] vs. 1.57 mg/dl [CDCXM-negative], P = 0.07) and at the end of follow-up (median 32 months; 1.19 mg/dL vs. 1.63 mg/dL, P = 0.06). Moreover, patient groups showed similar rates of biopsy-proven cellular rejection (11% vs. 20%) or C4d-positive graft dysfunction (33% vs. 32%).
Conclusion: Our results demonstrate that peritransplant IA enables successful cadaveric kidney transplantation in the context of a positive CDCXM.