Background: In nonimmunized patients, similar rejection rates are observed for patients who have undergone thymoglobulin (antithymocyte globulins [ATG]) or basiliximab (BSX) therapy. While ATG may improve delayed graft function, it may also be associated with higher infection rates and malignancy risk. We compared survival and clinical outcomes in elderly recipients with low immunological risk according to their induction therapy.
Methods: We conducted a multicentric study on nonimmunized patients ≥65 years of age receiving a first kidney transplant between 2010 and 2017. The principal outcome was patient and graft survival. Secondary outcomes were cumulative probabilities of infection, first acute rejection episode, malignancy, de novo donor specific antibody, posttransplant diabetes (PTD), cardiac complications, estimated glomerular filtration rate, and occurrence of delayed graft function. Cox, logistic, or linear statistical models were used depending on the outcome studied, and models were weighted on the propensity scores.
Results: Two hundred and four patients were included in the BSX group and 179 in the ATG group with the average age of 71.0 and 70.5 years, respectively. Patient and graft survival at 3 years posttransplantation were 74% (95% CI, 65%-84%) and 68% (95% CI, 60%-78%) in ATG and BSX group, respectively, without significant difference. Occurrence of PTD was significatively higher in BSX group (23% versus 15%, P = 0.04) due to higher trough levels of Tacrolimus on month 3 (9.48 versus 7.30 ng/mL, P = 0.023). There was no difference in other evaluated outcomes.
Conclusions: In elderly recipients, ATG does not lead to poorer outcomes compared with BSX and could permit lower trough levels of Tacrolimus, thus reducing occurrence of PTD.