Pancreas Allograft Biopsies with Positive C4d Staining and Anti-Donor Antibodies Related to Worse Outcome for Patients


Corresponding author: Hanneke de Kort,


C4d+ antibody-mediated rejection following pancreas transplantation has not been well characterized. Therefore, we assessed the outcomes of 27 pancreas transplantation patients (28 biopsies), with both C4d staining and donor-specific antibodies (DSA) determined, from a cohort of 257 patients. The median follow-up was 50 (interquartile range [IQR] 8–118) months. Patients were categorized into 3 groups: group 1, patients with minimal or no C4d staining and no DSA (n = 13); group 2, patients with either DSA present but no C4d, diffuse C4d+ and no DSA or focal C4d+ and DSA (n = 6); group 3, patients with diffuse C4d+ staining and DSA (n = 9). Active septal inflammation, acinar inflammation and acinar cell injury/necrosis were significantly more abundant in group 3 than in group 2 (respective p-values: 0.009; 0.033; 0.025) and in group 1 (respective p-values: 0.034; 0.009; 0.002). The overall uncensored pancreas graft survival rate for groups 1, 2 and 3 were 53.3%, 66.7% and 34.6%, respectively (p = 0.044). In conclusion, recipients of pancreas transplants with no C4d or DSA had excellent long-term graft survival in comparison with patients with both C4d+ and DSA present. Hence, C4d should be used as an additional marker in combination with DSA in the evaluation of pancreas transplant biopsies.