Long-term outcome of ABO-incompatible living donor kidney transplantation based on antigen-specific desensitization. An observational comparative analysis

Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2010 Nov;25(11):3778-86. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfq229. Epub 2010 Apr 28.


Background: ABO-incompatible living donor kidney transplantation based on specific conditioning has been successfully adopted by transplant centres worldwide. Excellent short-term results have been reported in small cohorts. However, long-term data and comparative analyses are still sparse. We report on the outcome of 40 consecutive ABO-incompatible living donor kidney transplant recipients and compare their clinical course to a control group of 43 ABO-compatible living donor transplant patients transplanted during the same time period.

Methods: This is an observational single-centre analysis of 40 consecutive patients undergoing ABO-incompatible kidney grafting between April 2004 and April 2009, using a protocol of rituximab, antigen-specific immunoadsorption, intravenous immunoglobulin, basiliximab induction and oral triple immunosuppression with tacrolimus, mycophenolic acid and prednisone. Forty-three ABO-compatible kidney transplant recipients served as controls. The control group had also received basiliximab induction and an identical initial maintenance immunosuppression. The two groups were observed for an average of 39 and 19 months, respectively.

Results: There was a significantly higher incidence of lymphoceles requiring surgical revisions in the ABO-incompatible group. However, this surgical complication did not affect patient or graft survival. Mean serum creatinine, estimated glomerular filtration rate and proteinuria did not differ between the two groups. Furthermore, ABO-incompatible and ABO-compatible patients had the same incidence of humoral and cellular rejections. Despite a more aggressive induction therapy, no differences in infectious or malignant complications were observed.

Conclusions: ABO-incompatible living donor kidney transplantation utilizing a combination of rituximab and antigen-specific immunoadsorption yielded results identical to ABO-compatible transplantation despite a significantly higher number of human leukocyte antigen mismatches.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • ABO Blood-Group System / immunology*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Agglutinins / blood
  • Blood Group Incompatibility*
  • Desensitization, Immunologic*
  • Female
  • Graft Rejection
  • Graft Survival
  • Humans
  • Immunosorbent Techniques
  • Kidney Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Kidney Transplantation* / mortality
  • Living Donors*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies


  • ABO Blood-Group System
  • Agglutinins