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Abstract

Although human leukocyte antigen (HLA) crossmatching is often thought to be unnecessary for liver transplants (LTs), we provide evidence that for retransplants, it is essential. Sera from 139 retransplant patients who had received livers from deceased donors were retrospectively analyzed with single antigen beads on a Luminex platform for HLA antibodies. Each patient received at least 2 transplants and was followed up for at least 6 months from the second LT, which was deemed to have failed if the patient had a third LT or died. Second LT survival was calculated from the date of the second LT to the date of the third LT or death. Our study cohort consisted of 118 adult patients (≥18 years old) as well as 21 pediatric patients (<18 years old). Class I HLA antibodies were associated with significantly poorer regraft survival in adults [survival differences of 21.3% (P = 0.046), 22.1% (P = 0.042), and 23.7% (P = 0.033) at 1, 3, and 5 years, respectively]; however, the presence of these antibodies was not associated with significant survival differences in the pediatric population. A univariate analysis of the effect of class I antibodies on second LT survival in adults showed a hazard ratio of 2.0 (95% confidence interval = 1.0-3.8, P = 0.028). Graft survival in patients with and without HLA antibodies or class II antibodies was similar. Because class I antibodies have a deleterious effect on liver regraft survival, crossmatch testing should be performed before liver retransplantation. Liver Transpl 16:308–313, 2010. © 2010 AASLD.