Donor-Specific HLA Antibodies in a Cohort Comparing Everolimus with Cyclosporine After Kidney Transplantation

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Donor-specific HLA antibodies (DSA) have a negative impact on kidney graft survival. Therefore, we analyzed the occurrence of DSA and antibody-mediated rejection (AMR) in patients from two prospective randomized trials in our center. At 3–4.5 months posttransplant 127 patients were randomized to continue cyclosporine or converted to everolimus therapy. The presence of DSA was prospectively assessed using Luminex assays. AMR was defined according to the Banff 2009 classification. Antibody screening was available in 126 patients with a median follow-up of 1059 days. Seven out of 65 (10.8%) patients on cyclosporine developed DSA after a median of 991 days. In comparison, 14/61 patients (23.0%) randomized to everolimus developed DSA after 551 days (log-rank: p = 0.048). Eight patients on everolimus compared to two patients on cyclosporine developed AMR (log-rank: p = 0.036). Four of 10 patients with AMR—all in the everolimus group—lost their graft. A multivariate regression model revealed everolimus, >3 mismatches and living donor as significant risk factors for DSA. Acute rejection within the first year, >3 mismatches, everolimus and living donor were independent risk factors for AMR. This single center analysis demonstrates for the first time that everolimus-based immunosuppression is associated with an increased risk for the development of DSA and AMR.Everolimus as compared with cyclosporine is associated with higher rates of de novo donor-specific HLA-antibody formation and antibody-mediated rejection after kidney transplantation.

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