Background. Calcineurin inhibitors and steroids are standard immunosuppressants in solid organ transplantation, but (long-term) side effects are harmful to the recipient and the graft. The authors present a novel strategy for posttransplant immunosuppression that combines a depleting antibody with an antimetabolite, avoiding calcineurin inhibitors and steroids. Methods. In a prospective, nonrandomized, observational cohort study, 75 pancreas-kidney and solitary pancreas recipients received alemtuzumab (4 doses for induction and up to 12 doses within the first year) and mycophenolate mofetil (≥2 g/day) for induction and maintenance therapy. Minimum follow-up was 6 months. We compared the results with a historical group of 266 consecutive pancreas recipients on Thymoglobulin (induction) and tacrolimus (maintenance). Results. Differences in patient and graft survival rates between the study and control groups at 6 months were not statistically significant. However, the incidence of a first reversible rejection episode was significantly higher for simultaneous pancreas-kidney recipients in the study (vs. control) group. We noted a trend toward higher modification of renal disease levels at 6 months posttransplant in the study (vs. control) groups. Conclusions. The combination of alemtuzumab and mycophenolate mofetil was associated with an acceptable rejection rate, a good safety profile, and good (graft and native) kidney function; it eliminated undesired calcineurin inhibitor- and steroid-related side effects. Longer follow-up is warranted before expanded application can be recommended.
- Calcineurin inhibitor-free immunosuppression
- Kidney transplantation
- Pancreas transplantation
- Steroid-free immunosuppression