Background: Highly sensitized (HS) anti-HLA patients awaiting kidney transplantation benefit from specific allocation programs. Serological monitoring at 3-mo intervals is recommended to prevent unexpected positive crossmatch (XM), but this strategy is not evidence-based. Therefore, we assessed its relevance when using single-antigen flow bead (SAFB) and screening flow bead (SFB) assays.
Methods: We included 166 HS patients awaiting a transplant and assessed their SAFB profile during the year preceding their inclusion. Anti-HLA antibodies were evaluated by SAFB assay and compared within patients as serum pairs at 3, 6, and 9 mo. We assessed the performance of SFB for detecting changes in SAFB profiles with 35 serum pairs.
Results: On comparing 354, 218, and 107 serum pairs at 3, 6, and 9 mo, respectively, only 0.6%, 0.7%, and 1% of all antigens tested exceeded for the first time the unacceptable antigen threshold (mean fluorescence intensity ≥2000) in the most recent sample. Irrespective of the follow-up period, the calculated panel-reactive antibodies increased by a mean of 1%, and there was no significant increase in the proportion of donors at risk for positivity of flow- or complement-dependent cytotoxicity XM. The SFB did not accurately detect the variations of SAFB profiles.
Conclusions: Changes in HS patient profiles are anecdotal and show little association with transplant access or risk for positive XM. Less-frequent monitoring in HS patients should be considered to improve cost-effectiveness without affecting transplant safety.
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