De Novo Donor-Specific HLA Antibodies: Biomarkers of Pancreas Transplant Failure

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Abstract

This study assesses the role of posttransplant HLA antibody monitoring in the surveillance of pancreas transplant recipients. Four hundred thirty-three pancreas transplants were performed at the Oxford Transplant Centre 2006–2011 (317 simultaneous pancreas kidney [SPK] and 116 isolated pancreas [IP]). HLA antibody monitoring was performed at 0, 6 and 12 months and annually and during clinical events. There was no association between pancreas graft failure and recipient or donor characteristics. Posttransplant antibody status, available for 354 (81.8%) of recipients, demonstrated that 141 (39.8%) developed de novo HLA antibodies, of which 52 (36.9%) were de novo donor-specific HLA antibodies (DSA) (34 SPK, 18 IP). The development of antibodies to donor HLA, but not to nondonor HLA, was significantly associated with poorer graft outcomes, with 1- and 3-year graft survival inferior in SPK recipients (85.2% vs. 93.5%; 71.8% vs. 90.3%, respectively; log-rank p = 0.002), and particularly in IP recipients (50.0% vs. 82.9%; 16.7 vs. 79.4%, respectively; log-rank p = 0.001). In a multivariate analysis, development of de novo DSA emerged as a strong independent predictor of pancreas graft failure (hazard ratio 4.66, p < 0.001). This is the largest study to examine de novo HLA antibodies following pancreas transplantation and clearly defines a high-risk group in need of specific intervention.

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