Background: Kidney transplantation (KT) is the treatment for end-stage renal disease in appropriate HIV-positive individuals. However, acute rejection (AR) rates are over twice those of HIV-negative recipients.
Methods: To better understand optimal immunosuppression for HIV-positive KT recipients, we studied associations between immunosuppression regimen, AR at 1 year, and survival in 516 HIV-positive and 93,027 HIV-negative adult kidney-only recipients using Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients data from 2003 to 2011.
Results: Consistent with previous reports, HIV-positive patients had twofold higher risk of AR (adjusted relative risk [aRR], 1.77; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.45-2.2; P<0.001) than their HIV-negative counterparts as well as a higher risk of graft loss (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.51; 95% CI, 1.18-1.94; P=0.001), but these differences were not seen among patients receiving antithymocyte globulin (ATG) induction (aRR for AR, 1.16; 95% CI, 0.41-3.35, P=0.77; adjusted hazard ratio for graft loss, 1.54; 95% CI, 0.73-3.25; P=0.26). Furthermore, HIV-positive patients receiving ATG induction had a 2.6-fold lower risk of AR (aRR, 0.39; 95% CI, 0.18-0.87; P=0.02) than those receiving no antibody induction. Conversely, HIV-positive patients receiving sirolimus-based therapy had a 2.2-fold higher risk of AR (aRR, 2.15; 95% CI, 1.20-3.86; P=0.01) than those receiving calcineurin inhibitor-based regimens.
Conclusion: These findings support a role for ATG induction, and caution against the use of sirolimus-based maintenance therapy, in HIV-positive individuals undergoing KT.