No Increased Risk of Posttransplant Lymphoproliferative Disorder Following Alemtuzumab Induction in Kidney Transplant

Exp Clin Transplant. 2019 Jun;17(3):320-325. doi: 10.6002/ect.2017.0078. Epub 2018 Jan 22.


Objectives: Posttransplant lymphoproliferative disorder is a known complication of solid-organ transplant. The use of depleting induction agents has demonstrated varying associations with incidence of posttransplant lymphoproliferative disorder. Alemtuzumab, a depleting induction agent for kidney transplant patients, has shown promising results in reducing the risk of acute rejection and graft loss in the first year. Its unique mechanism of depleting both T-cell and B-cell populations may be beneficial in preventing the occurrence of posttransplant lymphoproliferative disorder.

Materials and methods: We examined the known risk factors for posttransplant lymphoproliferative disorder in the setting of alemtuzumab induction to determine whether incidence increases with this induction agent. We reviewed medical records of all alemtuzumab-induced kidney transplants from March 2006 to November 2015.

Results: Of the 675 transplant patients who received alemtuzumab induction, 10 developed posttransplant lymphoproliferative disorder, with a cumulative incidence rate of 1.5%. All diagnosed patients had several known risk factors associated with posttransplant lymphoproliferative disorder: 7 with advanced age over 60 years, 5 being cytomegalovirus-negative recipients, and all 10 donor kidneys being male patients and Epstein-Barr virus positive before transplant.

Conclusions: The incidence rate seen in our patient population was within the range of the average in the United States but far lower than the incidence rates associated with other induction agents. Alemtuzumab is associated with a lower cumulative incidence rate of posttransplant lymphoproliferative disorder compared with published reports of other induction treatments.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alemtuzumab / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Lymphoproliferative Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Lymphoproliferative Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors


  • Alemtuzumab