This study examined alemtuzumab (anti-CD 52, Campath-1H) and basiliximab (anti-CD 25, Simulect) as induction immunosuppression in kidney transplantation. We used a single-center, nonrandomized, retrospective, sequential study design to evaluate outcomes in kidney transplant recipients given either alemtuzumab (n = 123) or basiliximab (n = 155) induction in combination with a prednisone-free maintenance protocol using tacrolimus and mycophenolate mofetil. Kaplan-Meier analyses of long-term patient and graft survivals and rejection rates were determined according to induction agent, donor source and recipient ethnicity. Secondary endpoints included the quality of renal allograft function and the etiology of infectious complications. Overall long-term patient and graft survival rates did not significantly differ between patients treated with alemtuzumab and basiliximab. A lower rate of early (<3 months) rejection was observed in the alemtuzumab (4.1%) versus the basiliximab (11.6%) group, but the rates for both groups were equivalent at 1 year. Patient and kidney survival and rejection rates were nearly identical between Caucasians and African Americans that received alemtuzumab. Quality of renal function and incidence of infectious complications were similar in the two groups. Alemtuzumab induction therapy was similar in efficacy to basiliximab in a prednisone-free maintenance immunosuppressive protocol for an ethnically diverse population of kidney transplant recipients.