Feasibility of Monotherapy by Rituximab Without Additional Desensitization in ABO-incompatible Living-Donor Liver Transplantation

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Abstract

Background

Rituximab is a cornerstone in the regimens of desensitization for ABO-incompatible living-donor liver transplantation (ABO-i LDLT) that makes this modality an acceptable option for liver transplantation. Plasmapheresis (PP) to reduce anti-ABO antibody titer and local infusion (LI) therapy were practiced as the strategies for desensitization before the application of rituximab and were reported as additional treatments. The aim of this study was to clarify the feasibility of monotherapy by rituximab without any additional desensitization treatments in ABO-i LT.

Methods

Forty patients receiving ABO-i LDLT with rituximab were enrolled in this retrospective study. The patients were divided into 2 groups: the rituximab with pretransplant PP and posttransplant LI (RPL) group (n = 20) and the rituximab monotherapy (RM) without any additional treatment group (n = 20). The groups were then compared in terms of the rates of patient survival, antibody-mediated rejection (AMR), and infection.

Results

The 1-, 3-, and 5-year patient survival rates were 85%, 85%, and 85% in the RPL group and 89%, 80%, and 80% in the RM group, respectively. There was no significant difference in patient survival between the 2 groups. There were no episodes of AMR in either group. The RM group had a lower rate of fungal and viral infections than the RPL group.

Conclusions

Pretransplant rituximab without additional treatments yielded satisfactory outcomes comparable to that with additional treatments, such as PP and LI.

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