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Am J Transplant. 2008 Oct;8(10):2126-31. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-6143.2008.02373.x.

Alemtuzumab induction and steroid-free maintenance immunosuppression in pancreas transplantation.

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  • 1Department of Transplant Surgery, Oxford Transplant Centre, Churchill Hospital, Oxford, UK.


Alemtuzumab is a humanized anti-CD52 antibody that depletes lymphocytes and has been increasingly used as induction agent in transplantation. The impact of alemtuzumab induction immunosuppression in pancreas transplantation was evaluated, with particular reference to steroid avoidance in maintenance. A total of 100 patients who received 102 pancreas transplants (83 simultaneous kidney-pancreas [SPK], 15 pancreas after kidney transplantation [PAK] and 4 pancreas transplant alone [PTA]) were included. All patients received two doses of 30-mg alemtuzumab i.v. with tacrolimus (trough level 8-12 ng/mL) and mycophenolate mofetil (MMF,1g/day) with no maintenance steroids. This analysis included 62 male and 38 female recipients, with mean (+/-SD) age of 42 (+/-7.6) years. Median follow-up was 17 months (range 8-41 months). One-year patient, pancreas and kidney graft survival (actuarial) was 97%, 89% and 94%, respectively. Overall incidence of rejection was 25%. Side effects of alemtuzumab administration included thrombocytopenia (14%), pulmonary edema (2%) and rash (1%). Twenty-five percent required reoperations (12% for bleeding). Infectious complications included Cytomegalovirus (CMV,6.8%) BK viruria (3.8%), fungal infections (4%), primary varicella (1%) and posttransplant lymphoproliferative disorders (PTLD,1%). Eighty-three percent did not require any steroids posttransplant. These results indicate that alemtuzumab is safe and enables pancreas transplantation to be carried out without maintenance steroids in 83% of cases and acceptable rejection rate.

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