Depleting Antibody Induction and Kidney Transplant Outcomes: A Paired Kidney Analysis

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Induction immunosuppression decreases the risk for acute rejection and improves graft outcomes in kidney transplant recipients (KTRs). We aimed to compare the outcomes of induction with Thymoglobulin and alemtuzumab in KTRs through paired-kidney analysis.


Using Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network/United Network for Organ Sharing database from 2003 to 2013, we identified recipients of deceased donor kidneys from the same donor in such a way that 1 patient received Thymoglobulin induction and recipient of the mate kidney underwent alemtuzumab induction. All patients were discharged on maintenance immunosuppression with tacrolimus and mycophenolate mofetil with/without steroids. Outcomes were compared between the groups in an adjusted model.


Study cohort included 1149 patients each in alemtuzumab and Thymoglobulin groups. Incidence of delayed graft function (25.8% vs 28.6%, P = 0.12), and 1-year rejection (5.7% vs 4.5%, P = 0.97) were similar for alemtuzumab versus Thymoglobulin groups. Adjusted overall graft (hazard ratio, 0.97; 95% confidence interval, 0.82-1.48; P = 0.52) and patient (hazard ratio, 0.86; 95% confidence interval, 0.69-1.05) survivals were also similar for alemtuzumab versus Thymoglobulin groups. Median hospital length of stay was significantly shorter in alemtuzumab group (4 days vs 5 days, P < 0.001). Similar findings were observed in a subgroup of high immune risk patients. There was evidence for clustering of alemtuzumab use within transplant centers which did not impact long-term outcomes.


Depleting antibody induction therapy with alemtuzumab and Thymoglobulin appear equally effective in deceased donor KTRs maintained on tacrolimus/mycophenolate mofetil–based regimen along with steroid. Alemtuzumab induction is beneficial in reducing hospital length of stay.

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