The use of belatacept is not yet approved for maintenance in kidney transplant patients. This retrospective multicenter European study aimed to assess the efficacy and safety of conversion to belatacept in a large cohort of patients in a real-life setting and to identify the predictive factors for improved kidney function after the switch.Methods
Two hundred nineteen maintenance kidney transplant patients from 5 European kidney transplant centers were converted to belatacept at 21.2 months (0.1-337.1 months) posttransplantation, mainly because of impaired kidney function. Thirty-two patients were converted to belatacept within the first 3 months posttransplantation. The mean duration of follow-up was 21.9 ± 20.2 months.Results
The actuarial rate of patients still on belatacept-based therapy was 77.6%. Mean estimated glomerular filtration rate increased from 32 ± 16.4 at baseline to 38 ± 20 mL/min per 1.73 m2 (P < 0.0001) at last follow-up. Conversion to belatacept before 3 months posttransplantation was the main predictive factor for a significant increase in estimated glomerular filtration rate (of 5 and 10 mL/min per 1.73 m2 at 3 and 12 months after the switch, respectively). Eighteen patients (8.2%) presented with an acute rejection episode after conversion; 3 developed a donor-specific antibody. Overall efficacy and safety were good, including for the 35 patients that had a donor-specific antibody at conversion.Conclusions
The conversion to belatacept was effective, especially when performed early after transplantation.