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Keywords:

  • B-cells;
  • biopsy;
  • graft survival;
  • kidney transplantation;
  • rejection

We undertook a study to ascertain the relationship between the presence of CD20-positive B-lymphocytes in renal allografts undergoing acute cellular rejection and graft survival. We identified 27 patients transplanted between January 1, 1998 and December 31, 2001, with biopsy-proven Banff 1-A or Banff 1-B rejection in the first year after transplantation, and stained the specimens for CD20 and C4d. At least 4 years of follow-up data were available for each patient studied. Six patients had CD20-positive B-cell clusters in the interstitium, and 21 patients were negative for CD20 infiltrates. The CD20-positive group was significantly more likely to have steroid-resistant rejection and reduced graft survival compared to CD20-negative controls. This study supports prospective identification of CD20-positive B-cell clusters in biopsy-proven rejection and offers a therapeutic rationale for a trial of monoclonal anti-CD20 antibody in such patients.