Optimization of de novo belatacept-based immunosuppression administered to renal transplant recipients

Allan D. Kirk, Andrew B. Adams, Antoine Durrbach, Mandy L. Ford, David A. Hildeman, Christian P. Larsen, Flavio Vincenti, David Wojciechowski, E. Steve Woodle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Kidney transplant recipients administered belatacept-based maintenance immunosuppression present with a more favorable metabolic profile, reduced incidence of de novo donor-specific antibodies (DSAs), and improved renal function and long-term patient/graft survival relative to individuals receiving calcineurin inhibitor (CNI)-based immunosuppression. However, the rates and severity of acute rejection (AR) are greater with the approved belatacept-based regimen than with CNI-based immunosuppression. Although these early co-stimulation blockade-resistant rejections are typically steroid sensitive, the higher rate of cellular AR has led many transplant centers to adopt immunosuppressive regimens that differ from the approved label. This article summarizes the available data on these alternative de novo belatacept-based maintenance regimens. Steroid-sparing, belatacept-based immunosuppression (following T cell–depleting induction therapy) has been shown to yield AR rates comparable to those seen with CNI-based regimens. Concomitant treatment with belatacept plus a mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitor (mTORi; sirolimus or everolimus) has yielded AR rates ranging from 0 to 4%. Because the optimal induction agent and number of induction doses; blood levels of mTORi; and dose, duration, and use of corticosteroids have yet to be determined, larger prospective clinical trials are needed to establish the optimal alternative belatacept-based regimen for minimizing early cellular AR occurrence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1691-1698
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
Issue number5
Early online dateOct 31 2020
StatePublished - Nov 24 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Medical writing and editing support were provided by Tiffany DeSimone, PhD, and Mary Kacillas of Ashfield Healthcare Communications and were funded by Bristol‐Myers Squibb, the manufacturer of belatacept (NULOJIX).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Authors. American Journal of Transplantation published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of The American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons


  • clinical research / practice
  • editorial / personal viewpoint
  • immunosuppressant - fusion proteins and monoclonal antibodies
  • immunosuppression / immune modulation
  • immunosuppressive regimens - maintenance
  • kidney transplantation / nephrology
  • kidney transplantation: living donor
  • off-label drug use
  • rejection: acute


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