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Keywords:

  • Antibody-mediated rejection;
  • flow-beads;
  • HLA-antibodies;
  • renal allograft rejection virtual crossmatch

Preformed donor-specific HLA-antibodies antibodies (DSA) are a major risk for early antibody-mediated rejection (AMR). This prospective study evaluated the accuracy of pretransplant risk assessment using virtual crossmatching (virtualXM) (i.e. comparing HLA-typing of the donor with the recipient's HLA-antibody specificities determined by flow-beads). Sixty-five consecutive patients were stratified according to virtualXM results: patients without DSA (n= 56) were considered low risk and received standard immunosuppression; patients with DSA (n= 9) were considered high risk and received additional induction with anti-T-lymphocyte-globulin (ATG) and intravenous immunoglobulins. Despite induction therapy 4 of 9 patients with DSA (44%) had clinical/subclinical AMR, whereas only 2 of 56 patients without DSA (4%) (p = 0.002). Notably, one of these two patients had early AMR likely induced by non-HLA-antibodies; the other had subclinical AMR at month 6 consistent with de novo DSA. The results of virtualXM and retrospectively obtained flow-cytometric crossmatches (FCXM) (n= 59) were concordant in 51 patients (86%), four patients (7%) were virtualXM−/FCXM+ and none had AMR, four patients (7%) were virtualXM+/FCXM− and one had AMR. VirtualXM can accurately define absence or presence of DSA and may become an invaluable tool for organ allocation and pretransplant risk assessment. However, further studies need to address whether all HLA-antibodies detected by flow-beads are clinically relevant.