Renal Transplantation Across HLA and ABO Antibody Barriers: Integrating Paired Donation into Desensitization Protocols


Corresponding author: Robert A. Montgomery,


The field of desensitization and incompatible transplantation has made great gains over the past decade. There are now several options and effective therapies for many patients who face antibody barriers. Kidney paired donation (KPD) and desensitization have traditionally been considered competing strategies and patients have been offered one or the other without regard for the probability of a successful outcome. It is now possible to predict which donor/recipient phenotypes will benefit from each of these modalities. KPD should be favored among patients with immunologic phenotypes that are likely to match without prolonged waiting times. However, as many as 50% of patients with incompatible donors will fail to find a match in a KPD pool and many of these patients could be desensitized to their donor. Positive crossmatch and ABO incompatible transplantation has been accomplished in selective cases without the need for heavy immunosuppression or B-cell ablative therapy. Patients who are both difficult-to-match due to broad sensitization and hard-to-desensitize because of strong donor reactivity can often be successfully transplanted through a combination of desensitization and KPD. Using these various modalities it is estimated that most patients with incompatible live donors can undergo successful renal transplantation.