Background: Cadaveric renal retransplantation is associated with a higher risk of early graft failure than primary grafts. A large proportion of those graft losses is likely attributable to donor-directed HLA class I antibodies, detectable by flow cytometry cross-matching but not by conventional crossmatching techniques.
Methods: Long-term graft survival in a group of 106 recipients of consecutive cadaveric renal regrafts between 1990 and 1997, in whom a negative flow T-cell IgG crossmatch was required for transplantation, was compared with two other groups of cadaveric transplant recipients. The first group consisted of 174 cadaveric regrafts transplanted between 1985 and 1995 using only a negative anti-human globulin (AHG) T-cell IgG crossmatch. The second group was primary cadaveric transplants done concurrently with the flow group (1990 to 1997) using only the AHG T-cell IgG crossmatch.
Results: The long-term (7 year) graft survival rate of flow crossmatch-selected regraft recipients (68%; n= 106) was significantly improved over that of regraft recipients who were selected for transplantation by only the AHG crossmatch technique (45%; n=174; log-rank=0.001; censored for patients dying with a functioning graft). Graft outcome for the flow cross-matched regraft recipients was not significantly different from that of primary cadaveric patients (72%; n=889; log-rank=0.2; censored for patients dying with a functioning graft). Finally, a positive B-cell IgG flow cytometric crossmatch had no influence on long-term regraft outcome.
Conclusions: The use of the flow T-cell IgG cross-match as the exclusion criterion for cadaveric renal retransplantation yields an improved long-term graft outcome over that obtained when only the AHG cross-match is used and has improved survival of regraft recipients to the level of our primary cadaveric renal transplant population.