Background: It is widely assumed that the graft-enhancing properties of antilymphocyte induction agents and their lymphoma-inducing potential are intimately related.
Methods: The Collaborative Transplant Study (CTS) database was used to evaluate graft survival and non-Hodgkin lymphoma at 3 years according to type of induction in 112,122 patients receiving a deceased-donor renal transplant during 1985 to 2004.
Results: The relative risk of 3-year graft loss versus no induction was 1.07 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.01-1.13; P=0.016) with murine anti-CD3 monoclonal antibody (OKT3), 1.03 (95% CI, 0.95-1.11; NS) with antithymocyte globulin (ATG)-Fresenius, 1.18 (95% CI, 1.02-1.35; P=0.021) with ATGAM, 0.74 (95% CI, 0.68-0.81; P<0.001) with Thymoglobulin, and 0.78 (95% CI, 0.72-0.84; P<0.001) with interleukin (IL)-2RA induction. The standardized incidence ratio of lymphoma compared with a similar nontransplant population was 21.5 (95% CI, 15.7-28.8; P<0.001) with OKT3, 4.9 (95% CI, 1.6-11.5; P=0.008) with ATG-Fresenius, 29.0 (95% CI, 12.5-57.1; P<0.001) with ATGAM, 21.6 (95% CI, 14.3-31.2; P<0.001) with Thymoglobulin, 7.8 (95% CI, 4.4-12.9; P<0.001) with IL-2RAs, and 9.4 (95% CI, 8.3-10.6 P<0.001) with no induction.
Conclusions: Those agents that offered the highest rates of graft survival were not necessarily associated with the highest risk of lymphoma. Graft survival was significantly improved with Thymoglobulin and IL-2RA induction, whereas lymphoma rates were highest with ATGAM, OKT3, and Thymoglobulin. IL-2RA agents seem to offer the best risk-to-benefit ratio for this patient population overall in terms of graft survival and lymphoma.