Interpretation of Positive Flow Cytometric Crossmatch in the Era of the Single-Antigen Bead Assay

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Prognosis of renal transplants with positive flow cytometric crossmatch (FCXM) remains controversial.


We analyzed the outcome of these kidney transplant recipients by human leukocyte antigen (HLA) donor-specific antibodies (HLA-DSA) using single-antigen bead (SAB) assays in major histocompatibility complex classes I and II. We compared them with controls with a negative FCXM.


Forty-five patients consecutively transplanted with a positive FCXM had significantly more acute rejection episodes than the control patients (33.3% vs. 8.9%, P=0.002). Risk of acute rejection was increased with day 0 (D0) positive T-cell FCXM (odds ratio [OR]=9.04, P=0.002), D0 positive B-cell FCXM (OR=7.43, P=0.02), and D0 HLA-DSA identified by SAB assay (OR=6.5, P=0.03). The 21 patients with D0 positive FCXM and D0 HLA-DSA had more acute rejection (62%, P=0.0001) and a lower estimated glomerular filtration rate 1-year posttransplantation (P=0.0001), when compared with controls. Mainly anti-Cw and anti-DP HLA-DSA were found in patients displaying acute rejection. The remaining FCXM-positive patients displayed short-term outcomes similar to controls. The presence of HLA-DSA detected only by the SAB assay in the context of a negative FCXM crossmatch was not associated with increased risk of acute rejection.


Identification of HLA-DSA in D0 sera by the two sensitive techniques FCXM and SAB assay indicates which patients are at highest risk of subsequent acute allograft rejection and chronic allograft dysfunction.

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