Kidney transplantation remains limited by toxicities of calcineurin inhibitors (CNIs) and steroids. Belatacept is a less toxic CNI alternative, but existing regimens rely on steroids and have higher rejection rates. Experimentally, donor bone marrow and sirolimus promote belatacept's efficacy. To investigate a belatacept-based regimen without CNIs or steroids, we transplanted recipients of live donor kidneys using alemtuzumab induction, monthly belatacept and daily sirolimus. Patients were randomized 1:1 to receive unfractionated donor bone marrow. After 1 year, patients were allowed to wean from sirolimus. Patients were followed clinically and with surveillance biopsies. Twenty patients were transplanted, all successfully. Mean creatinine (estimated GFR) was 1.10 ± 0.07 mg/dL (89 ± 3.56 mL/min) and 1.13 ± 0.07 mg/dL (and 88 ± 3.48 mL/min) at 12 and 36 months, respectively. Excellent results were achieved irrespective of bone marrow infusion. Ten patients elected oral immunosuppressant weaning, seven of whom were maintained rejection-free on monotherapy belatacept. Those failing to wean were successfully maintained on belatacept-based regimens supplemented by oral immunosuppression. Seven patients declined immunosuppressant weaning and three patients were denied weaning for associated medical conditions; all remained rejection-free. Belatacept and sirolimus effectively prevent kidney allograft rejection without CNIs or steroids when used following alemtuzumab induction. Selected, immunologically low-risk patients can be maintained solely on once monthly intravenous belatacept.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00565773.
Keywords: Alemtuzumab; belatacept; costimulation; immunosuppressive regimens; minimization/withdrawal; sirolimus.
© Copyright 2014 The American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons.