Background: The assignment of human leucocyte antigens (HLAs) against which antibodies are detected as unacceptable antigens (UAGs) avoids allocation of HLA- incompatible allografts. There is uncertainty as to what extent UAGs decrease the probability of receiving a kidney offer.
Methods: Kidney transplantations in 3264 patients on the waiting lists of six German transplant centres were evaluated for a period of at least 2 years. The proportion of excluded offers due to UAGs was calculated as virtual panel-reactive antibodies (vPRAs).
Results: In the common Eurotransplant Kidney Allocation Scheme, the transplant probability was unaffected by vPRAs in exploratory univariate analyses. In the multivariable model, a 1% increase in vPRA values was outweighed by an additional waiting time of 2.5 weeks. The model was confirmed using an external validation cohort of 1521 patients from seven centres. If only patients with standard risk were considered (e.g. no simultaneous transplantation of other organs), only 1.3 weeks additional waiting time was needed. In the Eurotransplant Senior Program, patients with vPRA values >50% had a strongly reduced transplant probability in the unadjusted analyses. In the multivariable model, a 1% increase in vPRA values was outweighed by an additional waiting time of 5 weeks.
Conclusions: This study demonstrates that the assignment of UAGs decreases the transplant probability in both main Eurotransplant allocation programs because of insufficient compensatory mechanisms. At present, for immunized patients, a prolonged waiting time has to be weighed against the increased immunologic risk due to donor-specific antibodies not assigned as UAGs.
Keywords: HLA antibodies; kidney transplantation; unacceptable HLA antigens; virtual PRAs; waiting time.
© The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of ERA-EDTA. All rights reserved.